Hello Mobafire. After quite a while of using the site, this is my first guide. Recently I've been playing tons of Udyr. He's an amazing jungler and I've had alot of success with him. He's definitely my favorite jungler so far, and so I figured I would write a guide based on my experience with him. This is basically a solo queue build and is just what works for me, but I rarely have a game where I have a negative kdr and frequently get to roll faces.
(feel free to leave suggestions/constructive criticism)
Pros / Cons
- Extremely fast jungler
- Strong early game
- Good ganking potential
- Ridiculously tanky late game
- Seriously. VERY tanky late game. Doesn't afraid of anything.
- Respectable damage all game long
- Great at controlling teamfights
- No gap closer other than movespeed
- A bit weak damage mid game (after merc treads and before atmas)
- Hard to gank with if the enemy has warded river or is near their tower unless you're willing to full on dive
I chose the runeset with 2 main goals. I wanted to add damage for fast farming and better odds when ganking, and I wanted to make sure I was extremely bulky early on. As another plus, the ArPen reds and AD Quints are good for basically any AD character and the Armor Yellows and MR Blues are good on anything that wants to be bulky, so they're all just good runes to have in general.
The AD quints are just nice early game. They can give you an edge in any level one fights. They let you jungle even faster at the beginning with even less risk. However, feel free to use basically whatever you like. Movespeed for chasing/running away or HP for even more bulk or even attack speed for more damage.
The ArPen reds are nice for all around damage. I've read a ridiculously long analysis about how they provide the best overall damage increase for AD based characters, so I went with them. As an added bonus, if you're playing solo queue, these are really good on any AD character, so if you have to switch, you have plenty of choices. Feel free to switch to attack speed or flat AD or whatever else you think would be best.
Armor keeps you safe jungling. Keeps your HP high throughout the whole route. I probably wouldn't switch these out for anything else. If you are going to do so, just make sure you have it thought out.
Flat MR rounds out your overall bulk in the early game. I used to use MR/lvl, but those leave you somewhat weak to AP damage early game and can leave you dead after a failed early game gank. Feel free to switch to MR/lvl or something else though if that's what you prefer.
Again, similar goals here. 21-9-0 is what I've settled into. As always, feel free to change it up. Taking everything for AD damage in the offense tree makes for faster camp clear and better ganks. 9 in defense makes you even bulkier and even safer in the jungle (because why not). I chose not to take the 9 in utility for buff duration because after the first blue and red, I generally give most of the buffs away. If you don't plan on doing this, then take the 9 in utility because if you're going to be the one with the buffs, there's no reason not to. It's a great mastery to have.
The skill order doesn't really follow the standard "max one skill first, then this, then this, and take ult when possible". This is intentional. More than anything else, this is meant to be extremely flexible. It can and should change from game to game. Udyr's strength is the ability to do a certain thing really well based on his stances. Alternating between 2 stances will generally give you the best result for any one task.
Phoenix and tiger stance - you can farm the jungle at a breakneck pace.
Bear and tiger stance - you can catch and damage enemy champions very well.
Bear and turtle stance - it becomes very hard to chase you down.
Turtle and either tiger or phoenix - you can farm the jungle and lose almost no HP.
This is why at level 1 and 2, i recommend phoenix and tiger for the fastest farming followed by bear at 3 to allow for the possibility of some ganking. Personally, I focus on farming, so I get quite a bit of phoenix, but to still allow for strong ganks, I focus on bear second.
Phoenix - Your bread and butter farming skill, clears camps like no other
Bear - A great speed boost and stun, lets you gank, and can help with running away
Tiger - The single target damage dealer, more attack speed, and an initial damage boost
Turtle - A shield and lifesteal. Your omgidontwannadie skill. Usually combined with bear in one way or another.
Smite is pretty much a must have for jungling. It helps secure buffs, dragon, and baron. It speeds up our route. The bonus gold from the using it with the mastery is also kinda nice.
Ghost is great for chasing (and running away). Combined with the movespeed from bear form, it lets Udyr chase down almost anyone. It can also allow us to hit multiple bear form stuns (the reason I go with ghost over flash) which can sometimes enable more kills.
- Exhaust - Slows people down, nice synergy with bear form to absolutely ruin someone, also nice for reducing a target's damage output
- Ignite - Sometimes that little bit of extra damage is all you need (also nice that it's true damage (ignores all armor and resists))
- Flash - It's flash. You know why it's good. Nuff said.
- Heal - I guess you could use this for baiting. You might have that one fight where you get away with like 9 HP because you saved yourself with heal, but it's not likely. Generally inferior.
- Everything else - Probably not a good idea. Likely inferior to one of the above. (unless you're trolling, then revive all the way)
This is a really important section, so it gets a pretty long write up. Feel free to ignore the F.A.Q. section if you have some jungling experience. (Hopefully helpful even then though)
So anyways, Udyr is ridiculously good at jungling. You could probably follow any reasonable route and be successful to atleast some degree. Personally, I like to start at blue with phoenix. If they're willing, get your mid to pull it for you. You don't need them to by any means, but you'll lose less HP if they do. After hitting the big golem, walk into the nearby bush and pull it in with you so that the enemy can't surprise steal it with smite. To further guarantee it, smite it yourself as soon as it gets low enough. After this, you can literally clear straight down the line. Wolves, wraiths, red, double golem. Use phoenix and tiger to clear the camps really fast. Use your pots somewhat generously to keep your HP high for the next step unless you plan to go buy.
From here, we have a few options. You should be level 3 by now and have 1 rank in bear form. We can use this opportunity to go gank any lanes that are pushed, go back and do wolves, wraiths, and double golems again, or just go buy. (If following this guide, at this point, you won't have enough gold for madreds razor, so if your HP is high, ganking or farming more is preferred.)
From this point onward, your goals are to farm hard, gank when lanes are pushed, protect towers or allies when needed, and get items.
How do I balance farming and ganking?
Farming is the slow and steady way to exp and gold. Ganking comes with a risk. Every failed gank means you have missed out on farming time. Opportunity cost and all that. Only gank when you think you can succeed or if your ally needs the help.
Ganking to Kill
There are 5 main factors that affect your odds of success in a gank.
1. Where are the champions in the lane? If they're closer to your tower (lane is pushed), this is a good sign.
2. How strong is the enemy? If they're far stronger than you, it might not be the best idea to go blindly charging in. You'll just wind up feeding them more and put yourself further behind. If they have easy escape mechanisms, you aren't likely to get them either. (Ezreal's blink, Morgana's shield, or Sona's movespeed buff and stun) Their bulk matters to. If they're a Jarvan with 2k hp and 140 armor, you aren't likely to do very much unless you or an ally who's there has some serious damage output.
3. How strong is/are your ally/allies? If they're somewhat stronger than the enemies, landing a single stun with bear stance can lead to a kill, especially if they have stuns or other CC. (Singed's fling and slow, Ashe's stun and slow, etc...)
4. Wards. If the enemy/enemies see you coming, you probably won't ever get close. They'll just back off towards their tower before you can do anything unless you're planning on a full on tower dive. (generally not the ideal situation, but can work sometimes)
5. Your personal strength. If you're really well farmed and fed, sometimes it doesn't matter much if the enemy gets back to their tower. You can just tank it and kill them anyways. On the other hand, if you have low HP, it's almost never a good idea to charge headlong into a fight at all.
Ganking to help an ally
Even if you don't/can't kill the enemy, if you show up and force them to back off, you can change the momentum of the lane. They miss some farm, your ally gets some free farm, bush control can change hands, and the position of the lane can change. Do this if an ally seems to be having alot of trouble or is asking for help. Thankfully, this usually goes along with the lane being pushed towards your tower, so scoring some kills might also be feasible.
You say it's flexible. How do I know which skills to pick?
The more games you play, the more you'll find your style. Pick the skills that are best for what you plan to do. For ganking, you need mostly bear and some tiger stance. For farming, you need mostly phoenix and some tiger stance. For getting out of bad situations, you need mostly turtle and some bear stance. Generally, at levels 1-3, I find it ideal to go Phoenix -> Tiger -> Bear, but even that might change depending on your needs. See Skill Sequence Chapter.
In general, Udyr is a tank. He is great at soaking up huge amounts of damage, stunning a carry with bear form, beating them senseless with tiger, and then finding the next carry. If you're well farmed and fed enough, rinse and repeat until enemy team is dead/gone or game is over.
In most team comps, you will also be the best candidate for the job of initiator. This means being the guy who runs in to start the fight. You need to be smart about this. It is VERY important. One bad initiate can lead to your team getting aced and losing the game. On the other hand, a good initiate can do the reverse. Make sure your team is grouped up behind you and ready to go. If someone hesitates, (even just one guy for just one second) it may mean that you will die for nothing. Ideally, you will run in, stun one of the enemy's carries and remove them from the fight by death or forcing them to leave. (Do not chase someone across the map at the expense of leaving the fight yourself, you probably still have more work to do!)
Next, as a character with a repeatable stun, it is generally a good idea to stun things as much as possible. This includes enemies who are running in to kill your allies, enemies who are running away, and all enemies in general. As a guide, keep your carry alive, and make their carry's life very difficult. You're going to want to use bear form for the stun, tiger form for the most dps, turtle form to stay alive, and occasionally phoenix form for aoe or to snag the last bit of damage on someone who's just out of punching range when bear form is on cooldown.
For example, imagine a 5v5 teamfight in mid. First, the worst scenario.
Seeing the entire enemy team mid, you are sure your team is ready to fight them. You rush in, using ghost and bear form to charge the enemy Alistar because he is the closest target. Sadly, the enemy team stuns you, and after a pulverize-headbutt combo, with your team a bit too far behind, you are killed before you can deal much damage at all.
A bad scenario.
Realizing the benefits of teamwork, you ping the minimap, before running in with ghost and bear form to start the engagement. Understanding that stunning a high damage target is important, you stun the enemy team's Annie before she is able to fire off enough spells to stun you. With your team engaging behind you, you begin to pummel away at the Annie with tiger form. As your stun ends, she begins to run to her tower with her HP dangerously low, but eventually you are able to chase her down, well into enemy territory and land a kill. Sadly, while you were chasing her, the rest of the enemy team has killed your team and begin to chase you. However, by alternating between bear and turtle form, you are able to escape.
Finally, the ideal scenario.
Demonstrating your leadership skill, you make sure your entire team is ready before heading in, using bear form and ghost to run up and stun the enemy Annie. As you start to pummel away with tiger form, you maintain awareness of the battle around you. After your stun, the Annie stuns you for a bit. (shortened by your merc treads) She starts running towards her tower with dangerously low HP, but you notice that the enemy Shaco is quickly killing your Graves. You make the smart decision and let the Annie go blue pill, saving Graves by stunning Shaco with bear form. Graves kills Shaco shortly after, and your team wins the fight, securing a free baron and the win.
Perhaps cheesy, but they show the important skills you will likely need.
The item picks are relatively straightforward, but as with everything, flexible. In general, I like to start with cloth armor and 5 HP pots. This will let you clear the whole jungle, and still have enough HP left over for a gank or even more farming. I've seen that some people like to start their jungle with a vampire staff or boots and 3 HP pots, and either of these can be done too.
Next, we rush for wriggle's lantern. This is basically a must for jungling. It makes it safer, faster, and easier. Plus, the permanent free ward is a huge perk. You can place it near a lane if they're not doing so for themselves, or near dragon or baron as needed. It's literally the best jungling item in the game.
For our choice of boots, I would generally go for merc treads. The MR rounds out your bulk a bit, and the tenacity is really important for a melee champ who is expected to be the initiator. They're also great in general against any team with alot of CC. You could consider Ninja Tabi if the enemy team is really AD heavy, but generally merc treads are the way to go.
At this point, the build has tons of options. The outlined build is just what I tend to go with. You can rush the wit's end for faster damage output, get a fast phage for chasing, or even rush a trinity if you're doing really well. Personally, I like to go warmogs into atma's impaler to make myself both super bulky and have pretty strong damage output once the atma's is complete.
If following the build, at this point, we're super tanky and have something approaching 200 AD because of the huge AD boost from atma's and our high HP. However, our MR isn't the best. Again, we have choices. A banshees veil can be helpful for even more all around bulk and the passive is nice, but it's pretty expensive. A force of nature gives us insane HP regen and MR and is a pretty good option. Personally, I like to go with a wit's end here. Similar to warmog's + atma's, it provides both defense and offense. The attack speed and passive combined with the stun from bear form and the bonus damage and attack speed from tiger form can really put out some surprising damage. In addition, the price is really nice at only 2000 gold. (over 1k cheaper than the other 2 options)
Finally, (and most games will end before or right around this time) we can finish out the build with either more damage, utility, or bulk. If the game is going this long, this item is really situational. Any of the previous options are again good. Force of Nature or Banshees will help us ignore their AP carries. Thornmail, sunfire cape, or randuin's omen will help us shrug off their AD carry's auto attacks. Trinity force gives a bit of everything. I like to go with frozen mallet for more HP and AD (and even more AD because of atma's) along with the chasing ability from the slow. Note: this is a strong item that can be used earlier in the build as well. The slow is especially helpful for chasing down wounded targets after a gank.
If somehow, the game hasn't ended at this point, feel free to swap out wriggle's lantern for a bloodthirster or just start buying elixers. There's not much else to buy.
So, overall principles of the build:
2. Get the right skills for what you are doing
3. Know when to gank and when to farm
4. Get the items that fit the situation (given build is atleast decent in almost all situations for if you're not sure)
5. Teamfight smart
6. Have fun rolling faces with everyone's favorite bearturtletigerphoenixman.