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Volibear Build Guide by Forrestal

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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author Forrestal

Climate Change Terror- Junglebear

Forrestal Last updated on April 17, 2012
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

4
14
15
17
18
Ability Key Q
1
3
5
7
9
Ability Key W
2
8
10
12
13
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sunder
Archmage
 
 
 
 
 
 
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
4/
Durability
Vigor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
3/
Mercenary
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Juggernaut
 
 

Defense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Strength of Spirit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mastermind
 

Utility: 0


Guide Top

Introduction

So you wanted to find out how to play the Jungle bear did you boy. Well fear not Volibear is probably one of the most underrated and underplayed jungles in the game right now. He's a fearsome ganker, a strong and relatively safe early jungle, and above all else he is an absolute TERROR if he has the gold to stay ahead of the competition. No other character in the game can Tank and carry simultaneously quite as well as Volibear.
So why do we play Volibear

    Got to be the best Atmogs character in the game, period
    If his ganks connects they have one of the highest chances of success in the game.
    He's a VERY strong 1v1 champ (don't do anything stupid and try and beat jax/olaf/tyrn kay though? (actually you might able to take olaf...)
    He's a bear. A bear in plate armor no less.
But most of all because he makes you feel like this



Thanks to Searz for the awesome guide format! You can find it here.


Guide Top

Masteries

Masteries
3/5
1/1
4/1
1/1
1/5
3/1
2/1
4/1
1/1
1/1
3/5
2/1
3/1
1/

mostly self explanatory here. 9-21 masteries suit volibear perfectly. You could swap around points in the defensive masteries but let me just point out a few things

Initiator is vital to your early ganks and general speed. Volibear is realy MS starved until late game, so having this which pushes your MS to 404 with tier 2 boots is highly recommended.

Mercenary: Mostly for early ganks. until the laning phase ends you will most likely have 90% of your team's kills or have an assist in those kills.


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Runes

Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation

Armor pen is vital to voli early. deal true damage to minions, make your frenzy deal true damage. Just do more damage on both frenzy and basic attacks. Perfect.

Greater Seal of Resilience

For a safer jungle. pretty much compulsory choice on 90% of jungles (karth, twitch may be exceptions...)
_____
Greater Glyph of Warding

Blues are the flexible of your choices along with your quints, so you could swap these. could. But really the extra MR can mean the difference between life and death when ganking Mid or just against AP in general.

Greater Quintessence of Fortitude

I like these runes because they work on just about any champ in the league, voli included. the extra health makes for both a safer jungle, a more powerful earlier passive, a better Frenzy and safer ganks. The other choices, Vampirism and Desolation quints are both viable choices but generally i find fortitude to be better.

Other possible runes:

Vampirism Quints: I honestly haven't gotten these yet. But i find them a bit moot point. they make for a safer jungle, a more sustainable jungle, but past lv 3/4 your jungle is really safe and fast anyway. That is unless you want to get vamp scepter first rather than cloth pots, in which case you change the build order slightly.


Guide Top

Summoner Spells


FLASH

Unless they remove this thing or double the cool down, it's still going to be one of the best summoner spells in the game. On volibear, a champ that lacks many natural escape moves and any blinks, flash is a strong choice
the utility of it is just amazing. use it to close gaps, use it to secure ganks, kills, use it to escape. use it to dance on their spawning pool before they surrender. Idk.



SMITE

You are a jungler. The Smite+frenzy combo is just too strong. no other choice is really recommended.
_____

GHOST

this is a viable alternative for Flash. Pretty much serves the same function, and stacks with rolling thunder into wtf rammus speed. If not jungling i take both, but since Smite is mandatory chosing one or the other, i chose flash. you might chose differently.



SURGE

Okay. there is only two reasons why you would take this spell. First of all it scales with your ultimate to the point of game breaking, esp early. More AD on your attacks, more AP for your ultimate's lightning, more AS for it all. Secondly it makes Volibear EVEN BIGGER ontop of his ulti. otherwise it's bad and you really want mobility above extra damage- voli has plenty of that.


HEAL
It can really help your passive. It can save team mate's lives. It can be a great tanking/baiting technique. several other guides put it far better than me. I just want to be able to ESCAPE from bad situations rather than merely tank it for another 2 seconds. that's my arguement against heal. Take flash or ghost.


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Skilling

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

First off we max Frenzy. This should come as no suprise. the second smite really helps with jungling, so buffing that as fast as possible is a must. more AS helps with everything, esp once you get lifesteal, and the execution really completes your ganks. why NOT max this.

Majestic roar gives more slow and damage per lv, so it's what we max second. 50% slow is not to be frowned at.

Rolling thunder... still waiting for riot to make this a worth while lv skill. It gives SLIGHTLY more bonus dmg and SLIGHTLY less CD per lv. nothing on frenzy or roar. max this last

Ultimate; yes your ultimate gets better with every lv. lv it when you can.


Guide Top

Possible Builds

Build 1


Recommended Anti-balanced AD off-tank
This is what i go with in 90% of my games. this is if the enemy fills the meta will and has a balanced output. with this build you are very tanky right up into late game, but your damage is fearsome. FON to Banshee's are the only thing i would change, depending on the amount of AP casters they have and what type.

Build 2



I tend to use this if my team needs more tank over more DPS.


Guide Top

Starting items/ core items


CLOTH ARMOR
So we start with Cloth and five health pots. why? Volibear doesn't have enough natural life steal or heal back abilities to start with vampiric like WW or Noc, so Cloth pots is really the only other option (if we want to build into a wriggles). you might be able to cut lifesteal with vampiric quints, but it handicaps your jungle control and ganking power with the loss in health and pots.


WRIGGLE'S LATERN
You are a jungler. You are also a jungler with not a whole lot of flexibility compared to other junglers. So your first big item, almost without exception should be WRIGGLES. Others have put it far better than i about why Wriggles is such a ****ing awesome jungling item. Suffice to say it gives you EVERYTHING you could need or want.
_____

WARMOG'S ARMOR
Now to time to stack stacking on the health. You are an early game squishy, and you WILL feel it when ganking. as soon as you start picking up the Ruby Crystal and Giants belt then things will go much easier on you when ganking. This also improves your Frenzy- something very important for mid game ganking.



ATMA'S IMPALER
The coup'de grace of your core. This item is getting nerfed next patch, but at the moment it will give you some 70 additional AD, which increases. My end game AD is 210 before IE. It also gives you armor and crit chance. Since volibear has high natural attack speed from frenzy, this item isn't just good. it's exceptional.


Guide Top

Situational Items (late game)

Towards the end of the game, after you complete your somewhat expensive core (about 7K, 8.1K with boots) the game will have become it's own mistress. Suffice to say at this point, what you build will heavily depend on what your team comp is like, and what the enemy team comp is like. Volibear isn't a pure tank, but frequently you might be on a team where you are the tankiest character and initiator. Or you might have a Alistair in bot and a Shen in top. Adjust accordingly.


PHANTOM DANCER
An exceptional item on volibear. Right now most of you might be scratching your heads, as this item isn't usually seen on tanky DPS characters, especially ones closer to the tanky end. However this item provides everything volibear needs, more AS, more MS, and more crit chance. With this item you end up with 440 MS plus, and about 1.65AS, with a 48% crit chance (before IE). Now take in consideration your 210 AD, and your ultimate, and this item is one of the best offensive options you can take for the price. The movement speed is also nothing to be sniffed at. Volibear wins or loses off his movement speed, and this is another reason why i take FON over banshee's later on. The only games where i don't build this item immediately after Atmas is if your team really needs you to tank more.


FORCE OF NATURE
This item patches the MR hole in your tank, as well as giving you MORE movement speed and the nifty passive. I usually but not always, take this above Banshee's Veil. The first notcieable buff to this is the fact that Volibear turns into VROOM VROOM bear. Hit rolling thunder and watch the eyepopping begin, especially when you already have PD. however the passive and additional health regen (in addition to giving you constant heal signs above your head) allow you to stay around much longer without hitting stuff. Very useful in prolonged base sieges and the like.
_____

BANSHEE's VIEL
A viable alternative to FON, BV is dependant on both personal prefence and enemy team comp. Besides from the additional health (and therefore slightly more AD and frenzy), it's most important feature is the bubble. The bubble is a life saver. It will allow you to absorb that karthus ultimate right in time, but to a volibear player, it allows you to negate the first snare/slow that comes your way while charging. this is important, and on a heavy CC team, i recommend it. However compared to FON it provides less MR, no MS and no health regen. Use your judgement to chose between the two.


RANDUIN's OMEN
This is my go to item if the enemy is really laying on the AD, and/or your team really needs a tank. The combination of fight-changing active, stats in armor, health and regen, and useful passive make it an excelent all round armor item, probably the best in the game. the reason why it isn't in my main build is that you already have atmas/wriggles for armor, and other items are in most cases more important.


INFINITY EDGE
Towards the very late game, if you make it that far, your damage might begin to drop off (relatively). even the AD carries will pick up something like a BV or a GA to save their miserable lives, and everyone will grow noticeably tankier. This, above everything else is the solution to that. You already have large amounts of AD, high crit chance, and high AS. once you get this item, your damage will rival that of AD carries, and that's before your ulti. The final AD becomes about 290, with a crit chance of 73%. That's huge. that's dangerous. get it if you can.


Guide Top

How to master your kit.


CHOSEN OF THE STORM

Your passive. Besides from being the source of much rage, and is often accused of being a mundo's ulti as a passive, it's actually quite good and has a multitude of applications
Tips and tricks:
  • You can use this while jungling to regenerate a lot of health by waiting to get low to pot. (Do not use against good counter-jungling characters such as Shaco, Eve, Nunu, Twitch ect)
  • You can escape from counter jungles that would kill you with this, the same with counter ganks and ganks ect. Don't waste it.
  • This is a invuable tanking technique in teamfights. rarely will people focus the tank to death, but you will often get shredded on the way in. Watch as all your health comes back in the middle of the fight.
  • This is a great baiting technique, especially when you have someone with a heal or shield nearby. Fun times with a lulu and her ulti with this.

ROLLING THUNDER

Your main initiating/chasing/escaping tool. The fling is quite substantial. Correct use of this skill is important.
Tips and tricks:
  • Don't always use this to initiate when ganking. Remember the fling will always throw the target behind you, so when ganking from the side or behind, it's often best to wait for a chase.
  • Remember that the 45% buff has limited range on it, and will only work if you can point yourself near in a straight line towards the enemy.
  • Lastly remember that the MS buff doesn't care if they're stealthed or not. Useful against shaco's who aren't smart about where they go.

FRENZY

Such a useful skill. Proper use of this skill will earn you kills, and (unfortunately for everyone else) allow you KS everyone else into next week if you want to. There is never any excuse to let a kill drop when you're involved. It's also important for jungling.
Tips and tricks:
  • In jungling, use this as a second smite. Smite first to get maximum damage on it (down to about 150 health) and then frenzy. Good for the first few major buffs and drag/baron
  • Frenzy doesn't care who you charge up the stacks on. Hit the tank three times then bite the enemy teemo into next week.
  • Frenzy has quite a substantial CD. use it wisely.
  • Remember that frenzy has a sizeable range for a melee ability. many characters might be lulled into a false sense of safety if you aren't attacking them directly- then just reach out and bite when they reach 1/4th health or so.

MAJESTIC ROAR

An important AOE slow, and highly useful in jungling. Oh and killing people with it feels good too.
Tips and tricks:
  • When jungling, wait for the camps to start attacking you before roaring, to get the maximum out of the fear
  • This ability has a substantial slow, use it to catch, escape, or generally piss off the enemy.
    [*} This ability can hit stealthed units! best used against stupid decoying wukongs. Laugh at them while them crawl away while slowed and waste their stealth.
  • Roar can be used immediately before connecting with rolling thunder to slow them down slightly, or after to prolong the slow time.

THUNDER CLAWS

There's nothing like getting bigger and sparking chain lightning while you're pummeling something. Despite appearing relatively simple on the surface, TC can have surprisingly deep uses.
Tips and tricks:
  • With your ultimate on, you stand a pretty good chance against most enemy tanky DPSs. Don't be afraid to take people on.
  • Remember that the bolts prioritize champions. Some of the best kills i've gotten is where i've killed a champion by hitting an minion wave once or twice.
  • If someone on your team has a WOTA, this is a funny skill, since every hit does 620 damage total (bounces four times) at lv 3. Yeah. Now look at your AS.


Guide Top

Ganking

Ganking with Volibear can be difficult. Unlike many other junglers, you don't have a dash/blink or even a ranged slow. Ganking with volibears is mostly in the landing. very few things survive the bear once he begins actually tear into them.

Remember the rolling thunder tips. Especially when ganking top or bot, don't open with rolling thunder at the start, unless they are tower hugging (in which case, why are you ganking? unless they are really low)

USE FLASH
Volibear is most vulnerable on the charge, and most characters have a skill shotish slow/snare something that might be a problem to you. Examples include Morgana, Ashe, Lux, Lulu, Ziggs, ect ect. There are two ways to deal with this problem. The first is to simply flash right ontop of them, and fling them immediately, which works will in mid lane. Or wait to flash past this snare slow with flash. Either way, flash is often crucial to landing the gank.

TEAMWORK
You need it. Annouce that you're coming with a ping, make sure your ally knows what's happening. Intial CC like Ryze's Rune Prison will make your job a lot easier. Many good ganks have been ruined because the ally didn't see the jungler initiating immediately.

Remember that you aren't a viable ganker until you're level 4 (or three in some situations) since you need all three skills to be effective


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Changing Roles

By about 15-20 minutes the laning phase will begin to collapse.

By this time your role shifts from being the Jungle ganker to a team tank-initiator, and your build begins to adjust as such. You should have finished your wriggles and moved WELL into your warmogs by this point as HP becomes more important.

Your role doesn't change from that for the rest of the game, so be the best teemo zoning, squishing, flipping and eating tanky DPS out there.


Guide Top

Jungle Path

I run Blue-Wolves-wraiths-golems-red-wraiths- gank, because you want to spam majestic as much as possible and having red for as long in the first round of ganking is important, but potentially

Red-wraiths-wolves-blue-wraiths-gank might work.

Find one that works for you.

A note on Counter Jungling: Voli isn't an exceptional counterjungler, because his only real tool is his smite. Going in for a quick kill immediately after they finish blue/red is possible, but will fall apart if they have flash/cleanse off CD or a natural variation of the two. Even if you manage to pull it off, voli's lack of natural escape mechanisms make him... vulnerable to lanes coming to kill you.

On getting Counterjungled- it'll happen. In particular, watch out if the enemy has these guys with smite in the loading screen

  • Shaco- most likely by far. it's not just that he's impossible to catch or that his JB make him a superb camper, but the fact that most Shaco players, have by the benefit of a multitude of shaco guides and the actual eperience of playing Shaco for a while, become avid counter junglers. there are a ton of characters who can counterjungle well. Shaco players are one of the few who nearly always will.
  • Nunu. not as bad as Shaco, but experienced nunu players will often do it better. It's not just that these guys have a better smite as an ability, or that they have an ulti that you may not see, it's that like Shaco, most nunu-jungles DO counterjungle.
  • Jax. You might be able to smack a shaco or a Nunu in a straight up fight. You won't win with a jax 90% of the time.
    [*} Udyr. He's no longer seen as the best jungler in the game, but he's still seen as the mark of a pro-jungler. you will see noob-udyrs but you will also see hipster udyrs who have been playing him jungle "before he was cool" and will make your life hell. A good udyr is most likely to be a very good jungler, which entails counterjungling, which he's good at because he's so fast at the technical side of jungling. He's not one that you want to 1v1 without a substantial G advantage either.


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Teamfights.

You will be expected to iniate. It's in the job description, and your kit is built around it. All the normal rules apply to charging into team fights, make sure to dodge as many incoming disables as possible. Once you're in

If possible, find the squishy and beat on him.

If not, hit on anyone and let the ultimate do enough damage to everyone to weaken them for everyone else.

Always remember to execute when the option becomes available.

Remember your role as a tanky DPS is not to kill people out right, it's to make sure that you are absolutely impossible to ignore. the enemy has to waste fears, snares, taunts and such on you because otherwise you will kill something. By doing this, they can't use it on your Vayne or Brand who are doing the real damage.

Towerdive. You're good at it, and if an asymmetric teamfight forms up on a tower, charge straight in.

As a last note. Be bold. Be very, very bold. A timid, second guessing Voli is one that doesn't quite fill the role.


Guide Top

Closing

I hope you've found the guide instructive, and maybe slightly enjoyable.

My thanks to all the people i've played jungle Volibear with, and against, as well as the other volibear guide writers on mobafire, as their own creations influenced this one.

Special thanks to Benisdabomb for build-bouncing, and Searz for the awesome guide template. I've said it once in the introduction and i'll say it again.

And finally to the reader. Read and rate, And may Wisdom and Strength guide you.

Forrestal