Olaf Build Guide by KoreanSP

This build has been archived and is for historical display only.

PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author KoreanSP

Comprehensive Olaf - Top Lane Terror

KoreanSP Last updated on October 30, 2012
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Preferred Core Build


Alternative Build Routes

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
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.



Offense: 19

Honor Guard

Defense: 11

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

Guide Top

Who am I? Who is Olaf?

Welcome to my guide. I previously owned several guides before, including an Olaf guide that was/is in the top 5 of all the Olaf guides. I'm a high level player, competitive and also a tactician - I can analysis match-ups. plays, items. team comps as well as theorycraft quite reasonably. My experience manifests itself as I have played through multiple MobA games, being in highly competitive in two of them, as well as playing LoL for a good period of time, on a team, and in solo-queue. I've made multiple accounts, and I have decent experience in all lanes while maining solo-top, largely because I enjoy it and because I excel best at it. I've achieved high ELO, and also played on a team.

Specifically, I play a lot of FPS games and excel at a competitive level. I played DotA on a team, and in S1 I got to Plat for League. I can truthfully say that I am qualified as a top laner with lots of experience. I can fully say that this guide is geared for competitive play (tourneys, solo queue, and normals).

I felt that my original guide, as it was my first guide on this site, got rusty and essentially almost outdated. I improved as a player, and the information in my old guide would have to be largely refurnished as well as the aesthetic aspect of it. Instead, I decided to restart the guide as a whole, while having some of the aspects that my guides in general have.

What does this guide provide? Details, builds, and information that is suitable for all ranges of ELO. This guide is NOT low-level material.

I have to say one thing - a bit of toadyism on my part, but I called the ' Shurelya's Reverie'-love on Olaf. I used it far before M5 or any other team hyped it up, and I am glad people are catching on.

Olaf has always been borderline overpowered - a competitive monster, capable of carrying teams, pulling off clutches, and playing a key role in any team composition.

Infamous for being able to deal a lot of true damage in a short period of time, he lives up to the name by being one of the best top laners in the current meta and game. He not only has his own strong slow, but also has sustain and an immunity to disables and enemy slows - a key part in making Olaf seemingly unstoppable.

Late game, he plays a critical and crucial role as the team's AD Bruiser, and it is likely that the enemy will have to back off or consequently suffer the aftermath. He has one of the best late games in terms of bruisers. He can peel for the team effectively.

Reader Note

Due to an extensive schedule, I have very little time in finishing my match ups for 1v1 lane, however. I WILL complete it. Trust me on that.

I will archive my original Olaf guide for this one. Thank for the support on my original guide! I hope the same can be done.

Also, this guide has a lot of indepth, bulky information. You can skim it, or read through all of it. I tried to make it as least dull as possible.

Guide Top

Why pick Olaf? - Comprehensive Analysis

My experience with Olaf dates back to before I played League. I looked at the champions on the site, and I decided that Olaf sounded like a champion I played in DotA, and it made be immediately like him. Although it wasn't until around level 15, where I bought him and fell in love with him.

Since then, as a top lane main, an indepth theory crafter, and someone who puts things to the test, I've grown as an Olaf player, going from following guides, to variating from guides, to making my own guides entirely based off success throughout my rise in the game.

The power lies in the fact that he has such a strong skill set, that is great against multiple types of enemies.

You will never be completely outpicked in any game; even if you do get a bad match up, say against a persistent Yorick or a successful Teemo, you can still find a way to sustain, farm, level, and perhaps even beat the enemy in the course of the game.

Your advantage in the lane lies in the fact that you have such a great trading potential, almost no one can trade with you fairly, and I'm sure that no one can trade with you over a period of time. The true damage is one of the best skills in the game - low CD, costless true damage that deals half of Cho'Gath's ult.

With your axe to slow and deal a lot of repetitive damage, as well as your W to sustain yourself, especially after your E-nuke, you aren't someone that many players like to face.

If you keep yourself constantly farming, while being able to harrass, you should take the lane with efficiency and ease.

Olaf can shove a lane down to the point where the enemy will fall behind in last hitting and not be able to match your money income, especially with your GP10(s).

You get your items, runes, and masteries based off an ideal offtank, but with some aspects being largely specific, unique, or case-dependent.

You CAN become the initiator, the follow-up, the sweeper, the carry-nuker, as well as your carry's own private guard.

However, your full potential is unlocked after another tank on your team initiates. You turn on your ultimate then by all means, slaughter their targeted carry. By slaughter, I mean SLAUGHTER. Go in there, peel at them, then get out if you are low, or stay for the sweep.

You must learn to make calls and achieve big plays when needed, likewise you should know how to protect your carries when they are under a lot of pressure and focus.

You have the tools in your toolbox, it is the matter of learning how to use them properly.

The only way you can improve is learn yourself. My guide is not something that anyone should follow EXACTLY. Even I don't use the same exact builds over and over. With me especially, I theorycraft and test out a new thing nearly every game I played with Olaf that isn't truly serious or competitively intense.

Learn from my guide. Appreciate and understand what my intended goal is. To adapt and variate as a player is a sign of improvement. To put such understanding into actual action successfully is the key to significant mastery as a gamer.

Guide Top

Top Lane

Top Lane Playstyle

There are many aspects to every lane and role in the game, and top lane is no exception. On contrary to the old myth of top lane being a farm lane (although it can be), it is quite unique and fits many playstyles. Action is usually limited - in most games it might just be you and your laning opponent (and likely some jungler action here and there).

There are, in general, three types of top lane playstyles.
  • Being aggressive. You aim to hurt the enemy and zone them, sometimes sacrificing your own farm in order to deny the enemy farm, experience, and roaming opportunities. It can easily backfire though, and if you die, you lose out on all snowball opportunities.
  • Being farm heavy. Your goal is to farm up for Mid-Game and Late-Game. Especially with champions that scale better as the game goes on, farm can help you snowball. You lose the opportunity to roam and often put yourself in a position to get towerdived.
  • Pushing the tower. Part of the Asian metagame that was so dominating was the fact that they abused the NA teams' passive 'farm play' by pushing the towers and going into roaming, team fights, dragons, map control. Essentially, rushing the mid game.
These play styles aren't set in stone, and are just the basis of top lane. No play style will be consistently just one, you will be aggressive at times, and passive at times. Abuse the enemy when you can. In the words of Sun Tzu, "Act weak when you are strong - act strong when you weak".

You have three things to be aware of.

Awareness of where the enemy jungler is, how your farm is doing, and how you plan to itemize your champion. These three general aspects will make or break your gameplay.

Always keep ahead of your farm - don't miss last hits.

Itemize according to your play style,

Be aware of where the enemy jungler is, and try to predict his movements based off the minimap, their top laner's gameplay, and just well-developed experience.

Winning your lane does not equal winning the game, just be aware. However, you should always win your lane, and try your very best to because it gives your team an advantage.

Guide Top

What are these builds?

Why so many builds?

Essentially, the point I am making is that there are many ways to build Olaf, some ways are preference based, some are to counter the enemy, some are when you snowball, some are when you are losing. Each of these builds are viable, used, tested, and all have their niche pick - apart from the core build of course, which is always great. Do not get confused by the number of builds I have - instead, read the title of the builds below, and read on.

I have these builds as a general guideline AND example when you face certain match ups, you want see some build variation and idea brainstorming, or if for some reason - a certain champ gets fed or tough to handle.

Each build will differentiate from one another, even just slightly, in runes, masteries, items, or a combination. None of these are set in stone, they are a rough guideline of what is great in an ideal case.

Following a build without thinking about it can make a build less effective than it actually could be. Always keep an open mind, figure out who is the main damage source and your situation.

Build #1 - "The Ideal Build"

My usual preference of a core build. These items, runes, and masteries are set to both bring the best, advantageous characteristics of a top lane Olaf, with a bit of my own very well tested items such as Shurelya's Reverie or the choice to forgo Wriggle's Lantern for two Doran's Blades.

Build #2 - "Anti-AD and Slows"

This build consists of focusing more on a cheaper build as well as more crowd control, invariably meaning slows. The build also gives you a LOT of armor. The use of Randuin's Omen as well as a Frozen Mallet creates a lot of slows on top of your Undertow.

Best of all, it isn't a costly build, so if you aren't racking up money constantly, this build can be effective.

When should I use it? - When money is a stickler, or the enemy has multiple AD champions that pose a threat. The slow and general CC can also be effective if your team doesn't have the necessary slow.

Build #3 - "Carry Me Please"

This build is as the title states - when behind, or feeding, sometimes you lose your game presence as an offtank. To counter act that, you must build accordingly. Therefore, you start to build a bit more of a supportive role, as well as Wriggle's Lantern to counter act a lost laning phase.

The choice of Frozen Heart helps have more CDR for skill usage, and one of the strongest passives in the game. On top of that, Aegis of the Legion is such a powerful item for teamfights and helps your team with a brilliant aura.

When should I use it? - You lost your lane, and you are doing bad. Your team however is doing decent, and you won't catch up any time soon, if at all. If no one has an Aegis of the Legion or a Frozen Heart on your team, it can also be a strong variation.

Build #4 - "Against AP"

When facing a hard lane against AP champions, this build is fantastic to nullify any advantage they have over you. You not only get sustain, but a lot of MR and CDR.

It involves the usage of Hexdrinker. Other viable options are a Wit's End (I've only gotten it once, and it works well for split-pushing, but that is it, I'd suggest other items), and a Spirit Visage (Fantastic item, highly under appreciated yet I find it efficient for its role) an uncommon item, as defensive MR choices. You later sell your Spirit Visage for a The Bloodthirster to continue with sustain through auto attacks, as well as more damage. AP carries won't be as tanky as a bruiser, hence more damage is fantastic.

When should I use it? - Against a Vladimir, Kennen, or Rumble, this build can be used to counter their advantage against you. Against a team of heavy AP such as an AP Jungler, AP top, and AP mid, this can get your the proper MR to snowball into midgame and beyond.

Build #5 - "Bilgewater Pirate"

Don't get me wrong - this isn't a Jax build, nor am I getting a Hextech Gunblade. No, the power of this build is a strong laning phase as well as the use of an extra slow at close range - essentially a weaker version of an Exhaust on a 60 second CD.

You sell it later on in the game, but the advantages it brings is quite lucid. It is essentially a better version of Wriggle's Lantern; you get lots of lifesteal and damage, as well as the slow.

When should I use it? - If you are ahead, or in a lane where you have the advantage, this can help you snowball your lane and totally dominate. In a farm lane, this can give you the necessary sustain and needed damage + slow to beat them in a 1v1 predicament.

Build #6 - "Max CDR"

CDR is fantastic on Olaf, who isn't too AD reliant. His entire early game comes from his skill set, rather his AD. This build makes you supportive and tanky, while allowing great damage from your skills and being rather cheap and cost effective. It also takes advantage of the utility tree with its GP10, movement speed, and CDR masteries.

You can swap Aegis of the Legion for Zeke's Herald (although you'd be overdosing on CDR, not a huge issue), and Randuin's Omen for Frozen Heart (again, overdosing). Ideally, you want max CDR without Blue or Blue pot (40%). You can use a variety of items to achieve this.

When should I use it? - This build can be a preferrence itself - although it is not my favorite way to build him, it is certainly viable and you will say many players build Olaf in this manner. This build doesn't require a specific situation, it just is largely choice-favored. You sacrifice AD-bursting with T-Force which plays a large part of your damage mid and late game however.

Guide Top

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


  • Exceptional Laning
  • Deadly 1v1
  • True Damage
  • Spell and Life Steal - Sustain
  • Gets better as game prolongs
  • Ultimate gives you invulnerability to CC
  • Strong initiation skills
  • Take down squishies fast
  • Brolaf skin is true terror
  • Able to Snowball and carry
  • Can come back around from bad early game
  • Easy to farm with
  • Skill set is all useful all game

  • Ultimate can be baited
  • Top lane is commonly picked
  • Can be countered to some extent
  • True Damage is self inflicted
  • Undertow takes time to master
  • Susceptible to bursting
  • Item dependent build
  • Pre-6, hard to escape ganks

  • Throwing axe wrong can mess up a kill
  • Without ultimate, it makes you vulnerable to kiting

Guide Top


19/11/0 Unique Masteries

spe This is an unique mastery tree based off of both calculations, and many games. You gain 4 damage off every minion attack, which when added, turns out to be a lot. As a top laner, you'll trade attacks, freeze lanes, and unarguably receive a lot of damage from minions. Hence, this is quite useful. You also get more attack damage, some % armor penetration, and Sunder , which gives +6 armor penetration, almost two ArPen Quints worth! Executioner isn't worth getting on Olaf, nor is Juggernaut . From my experience, this is the best choice for Olaf and many bruisers for that matter.

9/21/0 Bruiser Masteries

This is a typical Bruiser mastery tree. 9/21/0 - you get extra defense in the lane which helps your early game quite a bit. You get a bit more tenacity and best of all, 8% CDR at level 18, which is quite a bit for just 1 mastery skill. You also get some attack damage, and 10% ArPen. However, you lose out on damage, and I believe Juggernaut isn't a strong mastery point to get on Olaf. 3% health is negligible and 10% tenacity is near worthless for someone who essentially has 100% tenacity as an ultimate. If you feel that you need the tankier stats or you aren't comfortable with straying from the usual 9/21 builds, then by all means. spe

Q: Why do you get Tough Skin and Indomitable ? Aren't they for jungling?

A: Yes, they are great for several junglers, including Olaf. However, this is a solo top lane guide. They are fantastic because as a solo lane, you will have to constantly play around minions. Hence, you will likely take a lot of minion damage. Having both those masteries maxed leads to FOUR damage off every hit. If 6 minions hit you, you would take 24 damage off. If 6 minions hit you twice, you would take 48 damage. And it is likely that you would take a lot of damage from minions through the course of the laning phase and beyond.

When you freeze a lane, you need to take minion hits in order to prevent the tower from getting the minions as well as keeping the lane in your favor so the enemy champ puts himself at risk of getting ganked.

When you trade hits with the enemy, minion damage during the laning phase may even surpass the damage you deal. Just a few seconds of full on minion damage can get you down 25%+ in your health early on!

Q: Why do you use such an 'orthodox' mastery tree? I thought 9/21 or 21/9 was the best choice?

A: I'll keep this one simpler. Merely because you don't need Executioner OR Juggernaut , but the armor penetration, and minion damage reduction are immensely useful. From my testing, this has worked the best and you essentially get the best of the both worlds with minimal loss.

Guide Top


Preferred Rune Page


  • Greater Seal of Armor: Common Seals that most people have, they give flat armor and are useful during trades, or when freezing lane, and so on. The current Meta has plenty of AD champs as well.



Guide Top

Recommended Summoner Spells & Explanations

Recommended Spells

Ghost helps you chase enemies and is simply a great gap-closer. In conjunction with your ultimate, you are unstoppable for a short period of time. Not to mention, as long as you stick to the enemy, you should be able to slowly wither them down and eventually kill them. Largely a personal preference, but the speed is too good with your ultimate.

It is too valuable in conjunction with a powerful ultimate.

Ignite blends fantastically with your skills as the true damage + your nuke will drop anyone from 500 health to dead. You also apply a healing debuff which is fantastic to counter enemy healing and sustain. Like most champions, extra damage to snowball with is the key to winning a lane and gaining that advantage. This spell just makes so hard to lane against as you can output up to something like 800+ true damage in 6~ seconds with your repetitive E and Ignite.

Other Viable Spells

Flash: Works as well, but for Olaf, he needs to be able to stick to an opponent and constantly be right next to them, as well as be able to initiate a fight on his terms.

Exhaust: Slow, debuff, and less damage. Fantastic spell to get. I often get it if my team has 3+ Ignites, or lacks no Exhaust. Great if you have a good jungler to secure kills. If the enemy has someone tough like Katarina, I get it to weaken her ult and make her deadmeat. However, in a 1v1, the enemy Ignite can beat your Exhaust.

Teleport: It is commonly used for solo top champs, and it works for Olaf as well. Fantastic to make across-the-map plays such as Dragon. Just make sure to use it efficiently and effectively.

Summoner Spell Combos

Usual preference of spells

Fantastic slow and chase

Farm and defensive

Surprise! 500 True damage!

The best defense is a strong offense.

Guide Top

Ability Explanations and Skill Sequence

Your passive makes you a fantastic dueler as you only become more deadly when you get low. This doesn't mean you have to be low all the time, but is fantastic when you are in a 1v1 with someone like Fiora or Jax. After a team fight has occured, when everyone is dead or low, you can use this to your advantage to push towers in a blink of an eye.

This skill is Olaf's 'skill shot' to speak. It takes a bit of experience as new players will overthrow it, therefor not being able to pick it up, or underthrow it, and not hit the desired target, or miss completely. It does quite a bit of damage, is a greater farming skill(makes farming during the midgame fast and simple), and does a bit of damage as well.
Apart from its obvious farming benefits, it can be used in various ways
  • Used to slow enemy champs down
  • To harass/poke the enemy to force them to recall or be susceptible to a kill/gank
  • Check the bush(gives vision of where the axe is, and can be used to check instead of facechecking)
  • Steal buffs/minion camps/leash


In the case that you are terribly zoned, getting 2-3 points in your Undertow may be better as you won't be able to use your Reckless Swing as much. But these situations are rare, and even in a 2v1, Olaf can hold his own without doing that.

This skill is a One-Point wonder. Just one point in it is great, but the scaling of later ranks falls off. Therefore, you level it last. It is amazing to last hit with as well as trade hits with the enemy champ. You can use it after you use Reckless Swing to gain back your lost health. Combo'd with your passive, it can pull off some ridiculous clutch moves.

Olaf's signature skill, it deals 340 true damage at max, and makes it so trading with Olaf favor him. Whenever the enemy goes near, just hit them with your E, and they'll scamper back to the safety of their tower.

Just be careful because it does damage to you and make end up making you liable to dying(especially to Ignites).

Max it first and you'll be dominating in no time. Plus, with a bit of CDR(easy to get with items and buffs), you'll have it on a very short CD and you can spam to your heart's desire.

You want your ultimate whenever you can, at levels 6, 11, and 16. Olaf's ultimate makes it so you cannot be disabled or slowed for a brief period of time. It can be used when you are CC'd, such as a stun.

It defines Olaf and his strong initiating gameplay. It can be used during 1v1 duels to be more durable, when you are escaping (combined with Ghost, you can't be caught), or when you are initiating into a fight that you start.
  • Used to escape
  • Used to initiate
  • Used for durability during a duel
  • Can be used when you are CC'd or slowed (for example, Veigar's Event Horizon)
Just be careful to not use it too early as it lasts 8 seconds at the highest rank, and can be baited/wasted. Nothing is worse then running in, but realizing that you used your ultimate too early and you get chain stunned to oblivion.

Q: Why do you get Undertow over Vicious Strikes? Isn't more sustain better? I thought your axe was just for the slow?

A: You are correct! And you are wrong as well! The slow is a great aspect of your axe, and it only increase every level you rank it up. Even better is the fact that your Undertow does A LOT of damage, and is spammable. With a ~2 second CD when you pick it up, and decent AD scaling, it becomes a large part of your easily spammable burst. I'd go as far as to say this Undertow is borderline OP due to the spammability of it.

Likewise, your Vicious Strikes is certainly powerful and gives you a lot of sustain. However, its effects are still clear even with one point, making this spell an one-point wonder. Clearly, against an really sustain-y enemy such as Irelia, 2-3 points in Vicious Strikes might be arguable, and I'd even do that if necessary. But in 90% of cases, Undertow is much better in every way.

Normal Sequence

-> -> ->


Against Ranged/Hard Match-Up

-> -> ->


Guide Top

Item Build & Explanations

Starting Items

Gives you speed to dodge skill shots and have a chance in running/chasing. Great against AP or someone you dominate.

Usual start to a solo top bruiser - you get the armor you need, and plenty of potions. Most top lanes are AD bruisers, so this is great.

An unique creation - it involves beating your enemy through trades and sustain, with your potion as an early game 'Heal'. You can also get a Sight Ward in exchange for two Health Potion.

The Right Boots

Ideal boots, as armor counters many champions, and the passive helps reduce damage from minions and in trades. They are also cheap and build from both Cloth Armor and Boots of Speed, so usually you can buy them really fast.

These give lots of tenacity, which means crowd control has a lesser effect on you. Great against CC-heavy, AP-based team comps.

More attack speed. Seemingly great boots with Olaf, but they really aren't that good. You have your passive and items, and you are also an offtank, not an AD melee.

These are better for damage in my opinion than Berserker's Greaves. You have low CD skills, and CDR is very effective on Olaf. Just make sure to not go over 40% CDR, which is the cap.

Laning Phase

These give a bit of lifesteal, damage, and health. Fantastic for Olaf, and provide just the amount of momentum to stay safe while dealing plenty of damage.

Struggling by chance? Can't really afford wards at all? Lacking lifesteal and armor? Got zoned and lacking farm? This item can solve all your problems and more. You can use it to side-clear your jungle as well.

Philosopher's Stone I consider this core. This item is so powerful in sustain, extra gold, and just general domination within the laning phase. Best of all, it will build into your Shurelya's Reverie.

More health, and gold per 10. Strong pick for solo top champs, and on Olaf, a better pick yet due to his excellent scaling with HP. You can sell it or build into a Randuin's Omen.

Is your opponent armor heavy? Or opposite - do they have almost non existant armor? This item gives you a great early game with CDR, damage, and flat ArPen. Although it is by no means core for me, and I rarely do get it, I've been successful with it.

Although the idea of getting this item may seem folly for you won't get Hextech Gunblade, the cutlass is very powerful and efficient. It gives you a slow, damage, and a lot of lifesteal effectively making you someone impossible to trade with. It is quite efficient on Olaf.

Rumble or Kennen being annoying? This item can give you the push to beat them or stay consistent. It builds into a Maw later, and is definitely worth buying against AP.

Lots of health, and is built into many items that you can/will buy. Great if you need the health desperately, such as against an Irelia.

Good amount of armor, a great item in general as it builds into many items that you can/will buy. It also is great in the laning phase as most top laners are AD Bruisers, not to mention you'll likely take minion damage.

- This item is pretty neat, gives you armor and health regeneration, builds into Randuins, and is fantastic against AD champs.


- I personally think this item is really neat. Gives you some CDR, mana, and armor. Builds into one of the best items in the game, and is wonderful.

Not a common item, but again - if an enemy is really hurting you that is AP, whether it is an AP jungler or an AP top, this item can be worth it. I've had relative success using it against Vladimir, by beating his sustain with me.

Core Items

Shurelya's Reverie This item is core. It gives you sustain, CDR, health, and a wicked active that even Wickd would enjoy. It is definitely worth the buy, plus it comes from the cheap GP10 we have all come to know and love, Philosopher's Stone. Great all game, it can be replaced later on if necessary.

Health, damage, and builds into Frozen Mallet and Trinity Force. Cheap, and the slow is helpful since you don't have hard crowd control.

Lots of health, and is built into several items that are fantastic options for you. This item gives you health, allowing for better W-scaling, and more health to use E. You can out last your lane with this item, and really makes you sturdy.

Trinity Force or Frozen Mallet?

As a bruiser, one of these offtank items are fantastic on you, but getting both would be a waste of money as the passives of the Phage do not stack. Hence, getting one is the best and ideal solution. However, how do you choose between them?

Trinity Force allows for more damage in terms of bursting and crit, as well other benefits such as movement speed and mana. Although expensive, if you are ahead, in an easy lane, or against a team of squishies, then Trinity Force is great.

Frozen Mallet allows for much more health, is much cheaper, and is great to 100% slow the enemy with every auto attack. The downside is that you lose a lot of benefits Trinity offers, and in the end, 500~ or so more health from Mallet over Trinity won't save you against a fed ADC.

Clearly, both items have their advantages. It is ultimately up to you to decide what is best fitting. If you need health, control control, and sturdiness then Mallet is your choice. If you need damage and snowball potential, than Trinity is your choice. In most games, Frozen Mallet will be better and ideal due to the cost and health bonus, as your damage from your skills provide enough offense. However, I personally love Trinity Force on Olaf, especially in conjunction with items like Randuin's Omen and Sunfire Cape.

Giant's Belt

Originally, I had Warmog's Armor as core, and strictly built it in all my games. However, after much gameplay, watching streams, playing and discussing with other high-level players, I've come to the conclusion that all three Giant's Belt choices (minus Rylai's Crystal Scepter) are viable and strong.

This choice is certainly popular, and I used to be a fan of it. Although I hate Warmogs on champions due to it just giving health, Olaf is one of the few champions that scale so well with health, this item is so powerful. It makes your Vicious Strikes scale really well, and gives you expendable health for tanking and your Reckless Swing. The health regeneration is ridiculous as well, and it is likely that you will become hard to stop after this item.

A really popular pick, undoubtedly one of the most popular items on Olaf. It gives 100% slow, health, and damage that are all great on him. Best of all, since Phage and the Belt are both core items, you can just pick this item up for the recipe price.

I really didn't notice this item's viability on top bruisers until watching WingsofDeath and playing with a high ELO top laner that dominated me with this item. I realized that against AD Bruisers, this item gives health and armor, as well as a passive that lets you farm very easy with your Undertow. Whenever I go this route, I tend to get my Undertow to level 3+ early on for the ease of farming. This item makes you much more tanky than you think, and is very viable, despite the criticism it receives in terms of 'viability'.

All three items are great items, moreso in their respectively strengths. I usually get 1-2 of these items, sometimes even all three. They scale well with Olaf and blend well with his kit.

Final Items

Damage Items

SPACE A very common offtank/bruiser item - it provides a large variance of stats, which you use all except the AP boost. Both the slow and damage procs increases your utility and your damage output quite noticeably.

SPACE Another common bruiser item, it gives you crucial MR, and two very neat passives that contribute to your survival and damage. Although expensive, it gives you MR and AD, which you need to survive against fed AP carries or AP heavy comps. Great if the enemy is majorly AP.

SPACE A tanky item that gives 100% slow, it is useful for more health and the guaranteed slow. However, buying this means that buying a Trinity Force would be a terrible idea due to wasting a large portion of the passive, therefore you either want this or T-force.

SPACE It used to be core on many bruisers, with Olaf being no exception. However, as Atmas got nerfed substantially, the effectiveness of it did as well, and it was still viable but less cost efficient. Other items beat it, and Olaf slowly weaned from his reliance on it. Great if the enemy is majorly AD.

SPACE 100 AD, and insane lifesteal. A powerful bruiser item that amplifies your Q and AA. Your damage is formidable and combined with a source of crit or armor pen, will skyrocket through their health. However, watch the stacks on it.

SPACE Not a common item, and it is easy to see why. Expensive and you aren't an AD melee or ranged carry. However, I've bought this a few times, and when you are dominating, you crit insanely high, shredding their health faster than they can react. Not something to get in most games.

SPACE Attack speed, crit chance, and movement speed. Ideally, this sounds great. And on paper, it is. However, it gives you no defense, and your passive makaes up for attack speed. Great if you pair it with Trinity Force or Infinity Edge if you are really ahead and in need of 'tons and tons of damage'.

Zeke's Herald SPACE I put this item as offensive because I feel that you'd buy it for more offensive purposes than not. I personally dislike this item. I feel that it gives very little, and its better if the support can get it. You can get better options than this. However, I've seen some Olaf players always get it.

Defensive Items

SPACE Infamous health stacking? Sounds great, but in actuality, it isn't too smart of an idea. You lose out on resist-items you desperately need, and you only amplify the damage enemies do with attacks that deal % health. However, getting 2, even at times 3 can be fun to do, although rarely ever viable.

SPACE A powerful item for teamfights and in 1v1s. You gain armor and health, as well as a very nice active and passive. Great if the enemy has a lot of AD, or you are chasing a lot, especially against speedy enemies.

SPACE Definitely one of my favorite defensive items, I tend to get it on Olaf if no one else does. It gives the best unique passive in the game, lots of mana and CDR, essentially tied with the most armor in the game, and pretty cheap to boot.

SPACE Are their AD players fed? That Vayne or Tryndamere or Tristana critting you for 750 per shot? This item solves all those problems and is also highly effective in wittling down the health of squishy AD carries. However, you should not get this in any other situation, or as a regular armor item - it isn't cost efficient in that manner, and only gives you armor.

SPACE One of my newer picks that I really enjoy, I feel that this item gives you great resistance in the laning phase, helps you farm really well, and is deceptively effective against bruisers. This item is definitely worth the buy under the proper conditions and great use of your Belt.

SPACE Fed AP carries? This item gives the most MR you need, and a healthy amount of health regeneration next to it. It is common for many bruisers and also gives you movement speed. It blends well with your kit, and makes you extremely resistant.

SPACE Fantastic item, it was once my core. However, some people disagree and don't wish to get it. On Olaf, you often don't need it due to your tankiness. Sometimes you don't need it, you don't use it, or it wouldn't make a difference. But dual resists, and one of the best passives a bruiser can have - it is definitely one of my favorable picks.

SPACE The only reason you'd get this is if a Veigar or LeBlanc is REALLY fed, or if that Gragas is wittling your health to 40% every time he pokes. But in 99% of my games, I would almost never get it.

SPACE Although it sounds theoretically great - you tend to be focused and in the middle of the enemy lines, you have your ultimate and you should rarely fight without ultimate. I have gotten it though against a long, sustained fight where crowd control was as common as flies.

Keep in mind these factors when buying your final items :
  • Armor
  • Magic Resistance
  • Both Team Compositions
  • Offensive capabilities
  • Health
  • Fed Champions
  • Utility/Team Contribution
As long as you have a good balance and awareness of those factors, you should do great.

Guide Top

Comprehensive Laning Advice & Tips

Olaf excels at being a top hero for several reasons.

  • He can last hit extremely well, utilizing his Undertow and Reckless Swing to aid him in getting the highest amount of creep score you can possibly get. Even his steroid, Vicious Strikes raises his attack damage.
  • His Q and E makes it so that you will usually win trades, therefore you want to zone the enemy by hanging out near their side of the creeps to prevent last hitting and even getting experience.
  • You can escape with your ultimate if you get ganked, or use it to turn the tide to your favor if the jungler and the opposing top is weak.
  • Sustain with Vicious Strikes
  • Can easily hold off a pushed lane, as well as push a lane back.
  • You can assist in ganks from your team with your slow and massive damage.
  • Exhaust their carries/runners.
  • Burst down people with True Damage.
  • Tanky enough to initiate, strong enough to deal heavy damage.
  • True Damage, really strong against all, including tanks.
  • Hard to counter against
  • Easy to counter enemy threats with item variation
  • Strong ALL game, insane scaling later on as the game goes.

During level 1-2, there are a few things to watch for.

Always try to get a 4th pot, if not help your team with invading or protecting your jungler. A useful tip is to help your jungler on his buff/guard his buff. It can go a long way, especially in solo queue. You want to just farm up as much as you can. The key here is to use Undertow to not push the lane, but rather last hit a minion AND hit the enemy hero. The worst situation is if you hit all the minions, pushing your lane hard. Try to hit only 1 or 2, while hitting their hero. Pick up axe if possible. Watch for a level 2 gank, especially if they have a Lee Sin, Shyvana, or Jarvan IV.


Throwing your axe and mastering it is key. You should know when to throw it at your feet (ie pointblank damage) so you can pick it up fast, or throw it at the direction they run, so you can pick it up along the way. Make sure to practice a lot, as new players will undethrow or overthrow often. If you are farming, try to pick it up as much as possible. You can use your axe to check bushes, especially the top bushes in the case you aren't sure if the enemy has recalled, or is camping. You can use the axe to slow the enemy if they are chasing too.

General Tips

Keep higher CS than enemy
Watch for ganks
Try to freeze lane
Conserve mana if you can
Ward up if you can
Use potions healthily

When you are level 3-5, you should start to pick up the powerful early game Olaf has with his Reckless Swing. Whenever they come to last hit, hit them with :

Undertow-> Reckless Swing->AA->Pick up axe, repeat if possible.

After a few combos like that, they will be too scared or low to come near to last hit. Watch for junglers ganking.

If you find a passage to recall back to base, do it. Especially if the lane is pushed and they are tower-hugging, go back, get your boots/wards/pots, then return. However, if the lane is at the middle/their favor, yet they are too scared to lasthit due to your fearful damage, then continue to farm and last hit ONLY.

General Tips

Keep higher CS than enemy
Map Awareness - watch for ganks
Stay on top of trades
Get your items, counter enemy
Ward up!
Continue using pots
Call MIA
Use your E when you can on them

At level 6-9, you'll start to build a bit of damage and bulkiness, the enemy should be worried, and at the worst, you should be equal in creep score. Hopefully you haven't died yet, but in the case you have, Olaf can come back around mid game. If you are kills ahead, then Olaf can snowball as well, especially if you get to level 9 where your Reckless Swing is rank 5.

Abuse your skills and advantage (in most cases) of being able to trade hits and come out on top. Scare the living hell out of them and get them weak enough. You can start diving if the enemy is low if you have a teammate nearby. You can just ult out of it.

You should have wards at this point. Push every lane to the tower, attack the enemy with your E and Q if they come to last hit, and continue. Don't be afraid, as you have Ghost and Ragnarok, plus you should of warded to see junglers. Run if needed, but you can usually turn the battle around if you are ahead. Especially if your jungler is near, you can easily win a fight.

Depending on what side you are on, either clear or steal the mini Golems, or clear or steal the wolves (a bit farther then the Golems). If you have a Wriggle's Lantern, you can easily clear. If you are on purple side, you can ask your jungler for the red (if the jungler doesn't need it, otherwise give it to the jungler). If you are on blue, avoid getting the blue buff, you don't need it. The only reason you'd get it is because the enemy is about to steal it, and you don't have your team. Better you than them.

Dragon and teamfights will start to occur, as well as roaming (especially if the laning phase ended early, you lost a tower/they lost a tower) so be careful. Sometimes missing a wave or two to help a team fight or run down for dragon is better then losing dragon and 2 of your members because you weren't there to ace.


Careful of Jarvan IV, as his ultimate can lock you in and your ultimate won't save you. Luckily, it is not a perfect ultimate as occasionally, you can get out of it by running out as he ults. Don't rely on it though, and just don't overpush the lane with Jarvan IV.

General Tips

Keep higher CS than enemy
Watch for teamfights
Abuse bushes to dodge and juke
Watch for counter-jungling
Counter jungle yourself safely
Ward up!
Watch for early teamfights
Watch for DRAGON! Get it if you can
Call MIA

When you are level 10+, a lot of teamfights and battle over objectives will occur. If you haven't started to roam, you might want to keep your eye on the minimap. Likely, you, your enemy, or both will of started to roam more. Don't throw your lane completely as many do, keep an eye on it and don't lose your tower as that counters the gold you get from a dragon (Don't sacrifice your tower for dragon, you technically lose more due to map vision) If your team has CC, you can easily pull off your combo for heavy damage during fights and ganks.

Clear the jungle if your AD carry/mid/jungler isn't nearby. You want as much exp and CS as possible to get your items. Ward if possible, especially if you have inventory space and 75+ gold. It is detrimental to ward the map.


Don't yell at your support for not warding, instead ask your team to ward as well.

You will initiate or come in second during team fights. Your goal is to attack their weakest targets and carries, OR protect your team's carries. Remember, you can initiate, take all their CC and skills, then run out so your team can clean up. You can run back in with your passive and wreck face, while keeping alive with your Vicious Strikes.

Remember to ward baron as people are starting to become level 14+. It is possible to baron before 14+, but generally that is a good baseline to keep and a good habit to form.

You should either stick to your carries and protect them, go in as a damage soaker, or stick to their carries and destroy them. Half the time, the enemy will have to focus you to keep their carry alive, or to kill your carry. Use your ultimate and W to keep yourself alive as long as possible. Don't forget to use your actives such as Randuin's Omen.

Late Game Reference

Counter jungle as much as possible, steal the dragon, get their buffs, clear lanes, get towers, win fights, ward the map, get baron, protect your carry, focus the inhibitors, win the game

Guide Top

Top Lane Match Ups

I've started it. Give me a bit of time, I'll get it done in the next 2 or so weeks. Thanks all!

Guide Top

Wards in the Lane

Warding as Olaf at Top Lane

Red Dots: Wards to prevent ganks, ideal ward places. They double as a ward to prevent counter jungling.
Teal Dots: These are wards that you can put to see where junglers are at a certain time, counter jungle, or show vision to so you can go and clear the jungle safely. These aren't too important but to a solo top hero, they will be of some use.

The reason I put a map like this is so you know where to put wards as a Solo top hero. To learn about wards later on in the game, check out Panglot's Guide on Wards and Warding. Not to mention a majority of the warding is done by the support/jungler. This doesn't mean you shouldn't ward at all, but not worry about warding as much as say, a Taric.

Guide Top

Any Questions? Comments? Distasteful aspects?

Do ask away. I'd be glad to answer. Truthfully put, I'm somewhat stubborn, but I am also clear minded. If I see something that is clearly wrong or I believe you are wholly right, I will change it.

I will archive my old Olaf guide. Just for the record - it was at 83% with a decent popularity for a good amount of time. Hopefully, this guide will outdo that. But, I'm not too concerned about votes nor popularity, I believe that if a guide deserves to rise, it will undoubtedly rise.

This guide is all from a lot of experience, and not just a new player. If you're new to the game, don't be afraid to ask questions or leave a comment. I take pride in my guide, and I'm always susceptible to change and updates.

Build Variation is key to being a better player. Don't be a metasheep or afraid to try out new items, new runes, new masteries, new gamestyles. The point of my guide is to prove just that - there isn't just one way to play a champion that is written in stone. Everyone has their taste , their playstyle, their pleasure, their builds. I'd ask any reader to appreciate that just as much as I do.

Hopefully, I've encouraged at least one person to play Olaf from this guide.

Best of luck, happy 'CAN'T BE DISABLED'!