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.
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.
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.
Thanks to Searz for the awesome guide format! You can find it here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I tend to use this if my team needs more tank over more DPS.
Starting items/ core items
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.
How to master your kit.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.