Volibear Build Guide by jeffewee
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.
He's a bear. He's got plate armor on. Is this not the sickest champion in all of League? Sure a 6 stack Feast Gentlemen Cho'Gath looks pretty awesome but carries don't live in constant fear that not only will the tank be able to catch them, but will actually have the ability to flat-out demolish them in combat JUST as fast as a bruiser, but do it in the middle of their whole team.
His ability kit is amazing.
His passive is ungodly.
His armor has the blood of ten-thousand Katarinas stained upon it.
If you want to know more. You know what to do.
- Outstanding harasser
- Outstanding initiator
- Outstanding staying power in lanes
- Outstanding chaser
- Outstanding survivability once your core items are built
- Outstanding tower diver
- Outstanding counter-tower diver
- Excellent in teamfights versus immobile carries
- Can interrupt channeled abilities, Sup Katarina
- Vulnerable to ranged AD champs early game.
- DPS not effective until your healthpool rises
- You will think you're unkillable, this is a bad thing late game.
- Ignite hard-counters your passive.
- You will need decent farm transitioning into mid-game. Kills and assists early game are huge to this goal.
- Runs OOM early if in the lane for a long time
Keeping it simple, I run the new 9/21/0 defensive bruiser build. You can go offensive or utility but I find that Volibear with enough stacked health doesn't need the extra offense because his W- Frenzy does outstanding damage as your health pool rises. You also don't need the utility of the similarly named Utility tree, plainly because you will have no problems farming or any need for any of the other extraneous talents that tree provides.
You need defense and health.
So that you can flash into their carry and eat that sucka. More on this later in the abilities section.
If you know about runes, you know what they do. This will get one sentence apiece based on what I use them for.
Greater Mark of Desolation I HAVE CHANGED MY MIND. These are better runes for you in the long run. Every guide I've seen has AS runes here. NO, use that if you're jungling. This is better all around because you will do more damage with AA and Frenzy lategame especially if you buy a Atma's Impaler I only recommend buying the AS if you are jungling or planning to build Wit's End Both of which we are not doing in this guide.
Greater Seal of Armor Flat armor provides all of the defense I will need to not be severely harassed by some the the better AD champions early-game. Caitlyn Ashe Vayne come to mind.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist I use the snowballing MR glyphs because early game MOST AP carries don't have enough staying power to push you out of the lane before you are able to do so to them first. If you make it to late game, your incredible health stacking and these runes will provide all the defense you need against AP carries since they rely on low health pools and quick burst to make the kill.
You will not have low health, but they will.
Greater Quintessence of Desolation Refer to the first sentence in this section.
Chosen of the Storm (Passive)
An amazing passive. Allows you to survive or bait for kills. Combined with Spirit Visage and/or a high health pool allows for a ridiculous amount of survivability. Ignite totally counters this so be careful when using it and using it on whom.
Great baiting tip: Bait enemy into thinking they can get a kill by hovering at half health. Wait for your support, initiate the fight, you will get to critical health levels which will activate your passive. Your support will come to assist you meanwhile your Frenzy active will indeed activate. Chosen of the Storm will kick in adding to your true active health level allowing you to W for the kill. So many baits happen this way and will continue until people learn Volibear or until it gets nerfed. (more likely)
Rolling Thunder - (Q)
Outstanding initiating spell. Outstanding interrupting spell. Outstanding chasing spell.
I can't say enough about this skill. SO MANY applications for this spell and at rank 5 allows you to basically use it WHENEVER you need it as the CD is preeeeeeetty low.
You hate Katarina like I do? Wait until she ults, and then BOOM. Q her. No more ult. Use this every time you see her. Save it until she ults. You will starve that ***** so HARD. Cause most Kats rely on that stupid *** skill to build. Works on anyone with channeled abilities. Nunu Fiddlesticks etc.
Use it to catch anyone running from a fight. Combined with your E- Majestic Roar you will have people frustrated in no time. Add in a Frozen Mallet and once you catch them, unless they have Flash ready, you are getting a kill or assist.
Surprise a low health laning opponent by Flashing into them and hitting this skill. Frenzy and then ride your tricycle of laff back to your tower or to your base to buy items or recover.
Flip a tower diver right into your tower and tank him with your passive while they get railed by you, your tower, AND your support.
Come out of the jungle with a coordinated attack and BOOM. You know the rest.
God what a skill.
Frenzy - (W)
Your main nuke. With a high amount of health, based on our build here and with a weakened opponent allows you to ATTACK THEIR WEAK SPOT FOR MASSIVE DAMAGE.
Hate Tryndamere? I do too. Wait until he's about 1/3, 1/4 health. GOOD Tryndameres will activate this RIGHT before they die so they can sustain their stupid whack and spin for a longer period of time. You're counting on this. Use this at 1/3 health with a Warmog's Armor and Frozen Mallet and BOOM.
Hate Teemo? Use it at half health. Laugh.
Hate anyone that's squishy and has a low healthpool?
This skill is underestimated by nearly EVERYONE I've solo queued against because they don't realize how much damage it does with a stacked health pool. That's why it has such a huge CD. CAUSE YOU BITE SOMEONE'S *******ED HEAD OFF with it.
Tower dive like a man. Your passive will support you. Run in, Rolling Thunder, Majestic Roar and then your Frenzy active will be ready. BITE THEIR ****ING HEAD OFF and run away. If it fails. Run back like you were defeated, RUN BACK IN AND BITE THEIR HEAD OFF. WHO CARES IF YOU DIE. YOU WANT THEM TO FEAR YOU. This is how you do it.
Majestic Roar - (E)
Another great skill, not as overwhelming however very useful. More of a jungle talent to save DPS done to you by fearing the neuts, but also great in the fact that it has a slow built in. I max this last because 1) you will have a Frozen Mallet, and 2) I only REALLY use it to catch someone JUST out of my reach with the AOE, and to pin someone down once I've caught them with Rolling Thunder. Pretty straightforward usage.
Thunder Claws - (R) Ultimate.
This is a very under-appreciated skill for me as I do not build AP to enhance the damage of this skill. I don't understand why Phreak would build a Rylai's Crystal Scepter when it doesn't really add that much damage and the slow to chained enemies is only 15%. My Majestic Roar does that better and I don't need magic to kill people I just BITE THEIR ****ING HEAD OFF.
The AOE that this does in teamfight is more than adequate without having to pump more AP into it. Plus you will be taking one carry out of the teamfight immediately anyway so let your other carries deal with the AOEs. I mainly use it to push a lane hard, and when things get poppin during teamfights.
Keeping it simple:
Frenzy maxed first because of the damage it deals.
Thunder Claws maxed when available. Great pushing, AOE teamfight tool.
Rolling Thunder maxed second to lower the CD for the mid-late game.
Majestic Roar last to increase the damage and slow late-game.
I almost ALWAYS take Ghost and Flash. Sometimes I'll take Teleport but only if I'm going for a GP10 item build, or if I'm solo-top.
Ghost in conjunction with a Frozen Mallet and Rolling Thunder means someone isn't getting away. And if they Flash out or use an escape ability. You still have Flash and midgame Rolling Thunder shortly be off the CD. They will not get away.
There is no end-all be-all item build but I will tell you the three items you will need. And some builds based on what I believe should be used in certain situations. I will explain all item selections in a future update.
Your CORE build
You're thinking to yourself. I can't do damage with this build and its pretty expensive. Yes it looks as if you can't deal damage with this setup but once you build these three items, you will be level 11-12ish and with around 3000 health. Your Frenzy active deals damage based on how much health you have and how much remaining health your opponent has. So building DPS items is not necessary unless you want to troll your enemy.
Your main job is to be as disgustingly tanky as possible, and having an insanely high healthpool achieves the goal of making us unkillable with the passive and allowing Frenzy to do ridiculous damage.
ITEMS TO CONSIDER FOR 4TH PURCHASE
Force of Nature
When to buy it:
I generally purchase this as my 4th item IF and only IF the best player on their team (best meaning has a lot of farm/kills, knows how to kite and focus you, knows how to escape well) is a hard AP carry, or if their team is comprised of 2+ people with heavy AP damage. It doesn't give health which bumps this down on the list of extremely important items, however it still get used in many of my games.
When to buy it:
Buy this item 4th if you are still having trouble against multiple AD carries. This item will put that to an end as well as opening up the full tower dive strategy without fear of dying. I will only buy this item 4th if the game has gotten to the point where I need to be defending because we've lost a few key points and the enemy is on a roll. If the game is going well, like I said, analyze the battle and pick another item.
When to buy it:
If the team is AS heavy or if they just have too much AD damage I will buy this item 4th. It slams a steel door on carries trying to focus you because if they do, your teammates will have an easier time mopping up once you engage them. It also makes you unkillable 1v1 solo against ANY AD champ.
When to buy it:
The enemy team is being stubborn and for whatever reason you are the biggest threat to their team and they begin to focus you, is when you purchase this. This will put the brakes on that because if they try to kill you they will then have to try to kill you again if your teammates have not already killed them off securing your escape OR return to the battle.
I would only buy this if you are confident that you and your teammates can work together to make sure the passive is never used.
This item usually seals the games for me. My recommended 4th item, HOWEVER read the battle. React to what you need, not what I tell you.
5TH AND 6TH ITEM PURCHASES
Once you get into 5th and 6th items, you are unkillable (without being caught offguard by the whole enemy team (or my problem which is tower diving their ENTIRE team defending their inhibitor towers LOL). If the game is still pretty even, holy **** man, great game you have there!
If you are having survivability problems STILL!, purchase any one of the 4th items we just talked about to counteract that weakness.
Buy this item if you still need armor as well as a boost in AD. Since you have health stacked, this is a natural item to finish the build with. Makes towers a joke, makes AD carries a joke, makes squishies a joke. Use this to mop them up.
Ugggggh... I have a hard time recommending this item as your 5th or 6th JUST because if you're losing it MAY help you add the damage you need to turn the tide, but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND buying this 5th or 6th if you're winning. This item built and a Q E W combo against any squishy will K.O. them. This will make any Teemo ragequit. Use your kill combo, talk trash in /all, do whatever you want. If you have the opportunity to buy this 5th enjoy it, you will be having a great time while the game lasts.
I know what you're thinking, "You noob you have a Frozen Mallet you don't need Trinity Force either sell one or don't build it."
NO! STFU I LIKE THE ADDED HEALTH BOTH ITEMS GIVE ME, AND FROZEN MALLET IS A MORALE DEFEATING SLOW. Ever fought someone with a Frozen Mallet and tried to run? You knew it was over before you had the chance to fight back. You want to demoralize them AND destroy them, then you build both. END OF CONVERSATION.
This item forces surrenders, because the enemy will realize that you are unkillable AND you make it a 4v5 every single time.
You can start with a few different items. If you are comfortable with just playing defensively and making sure no one gets any hits in on your tower, grab Regrowth Pendant and 1 Health Potion. If you are duo laning with a good partner, grab Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions for harassment and mobility. Solo top, Doran's Shield is a fine choice.
Just last hit minions until level 2, 3 if you want a slow or harder hitting Frenzy. Once you are comfortable with how your opponent is going to react to you (aggressive, passive, afk lol) you can begin to bob and weave in and out of the grass waiting for them to get caught off guard with a rushing Rolling Thunder. Once you get the hit in, autoattack a few times and activate Frenzy. Alone this combo will hit for a little under half their health, also causing them to blow some Summoner Spells. If your partner is anywhere near, you may even score a kill or assist.
If not, continue to set them up. EVEN if you are less than half health, continue the harass. Your passive will bait them into thinking that they will kill you next time you rush in. Be careful that your opponent doesn't have Ignite handy. Try to force them to use it on you as a defensive measure if you can.
If you have a free moment, B and pick up the next portion of your build. Giant's Belt if you have the gold Ruby Crystal if you don't or Null-Magic Mantle if you feel like you need to rush Mercury's Treads instead.
End of Laning Phase - Midgame
When the first of the towers are on the verge of going down and team-pushes begin to happen is when you need to take your act on the road. Be cautious since you only have Warmog's Armor and Frozen Mallet you can still be efficiently bursted down if you are focused by 2+ carries. This phase of the game is where you are most vulnerable but also this will be your biggest gold gain phase leading into your most OP phase which is late-midgame transitioning to lategame.
Basically you need to be everywhere the enemy team is trying to make a push. Force them to make mistakes and make them pay. Hide in well-travelled push routes with a carry or two and make some kills. Push towers. With all the health you have, the towers are no longer a problem for you if you desire to just stand under them while your teammates follow you in for the kill. Once you get a few kills and defend/push towers, when you have the opportunity, scan your opposition and analyze what threatened you the most during that time.
If you had a Tryndamere farming like a nut and perhaps even got a few kills, you need to think about a Sunfire Cape or if there's more than two AD carries giving you problems, a Thornmail is your best bet.
If OP sucka Fizz was doing well, start on your Force of Nature.
This is why I only have 3 items listed in the build because EVERY game is different and you cannot possibly have a straight item set. Sometimes I get focused all the time and then I'll go for an early Guardian Angel.
Different encounters call for different measures. You make that call. The only advice I can give you is, whatever you build, try to make sure it includes a health boost.
This is just a general guide to building into Volibear
-I will be adding match results whenever I update my guide.
-I will make the guide more flashy once I get time, I just wanted to get the guide out ASAP.
-I will add a strategy section including pictures in the future.
-I will be adding a jungle section as well.
Stay tuned and add comments/suggestions/criticism and I will correct where I deem necessary.
Thanks for reading and may your pockets be lined with gold and the blood of Katarina.
12/02/2011 - Added End of Laning Phase - Midgame section. Grammar corrections.
12/05/2011 - Updated items section with recommended item purchases and explanations. Changed recommended runes from AS to ArP.