Warwick Build Guide by tomathome
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.
Yo back with my second guide for an old favourite ;) Warwick or WW (as he is widely known) was one of the very first champions I used and due to my general noobiness and lack of current pro-ness I had absolutely no clue how to jungle. As far as I was concerned those golems were hardcore :( As such I used WW as I would any other champion; in a lane.
New players to WW will most likely first notice his excellent self-sustainability which is due to his passive Eternal Thirst and Hungering Strike (his Q). These abilities are also the reasons for warwick's wide use as a jungler. In this guide however, I am seeking to both; offer seasoned LOL and WW players (ie: the haters) an enjoyable AND viable alternative and convert newer League of Legends players in the hope of updating (what I believe to be) the current stagnant playstyle and perception of Warwick.
First of all I would just like to weed out a few errors made by many WW players:
1. Warwick is NOT an AD (attack damage) champion!!! Now many of you may begin using ww and notice his W ( Hunters Call) greatly increases his attack speed (AS) and that of those friendlies around him. This, in combination with the Berserker's Greaves being the first cab-off-the-rank from the recommended items list leads many players to assume Warwick is an AD carry beast. WRONG I too once thought this was the case, and the lesson I learnt whilst under this impression is the best example I can use to demonstrate the ultimately failcore use of WW as an ad champion:
I had played a few games as warwick and I had noticed his great ability to 1v1 every AD champion I came across. I got it into my head that I must be really good and decided to enhance my use of WW by buying a rune page for him. In line with the brilliant build I was using at the time ( Berserker's Greaves, 2 Phantom Dancer's, Infinity Edge, The Bloodthirster and The Black Cleaver I thought I would be really clever and get a full page of crit damage runes. Now, by the time I had played enough games to afford an entire page's worth of crit runes (1,000,000,000,000 games -.-) (so much IP) I was beginning to notice a worrying trend; everyone was calling me a noob. Pushing on though, my ultimate-super-1v1-nooblaz3r warwick build was complete. Not long after, and having re-assured myself that I was not in-fact a noob, I came across a noob Warwick on an equally nooby enemy team. Now, being the kind and nurturing player I am I quitely told this WW that he was a "%$&^#@! noob warwick with no &%^$" and that he should come 1v1 so he could learn something. He ignored me of course but later that game I saw my grand opportunity to pass on my learned knowledge to the underprivileged. Let me set the scene, their lvl 16 WW was farming top by himself with full hp and Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Madred's Bloodrazor, Malady and a Sunfire Cape whilst I was in the jungle (lvl 16) with the element of surprise also with full health and Berserker's Greaves, Phantom Dancer, B. F. Sword and 2 Vampiric Scepter's. I ulted ( Infinite Duress) onto him from the brush then exhausted him, he ulted me back then exhausted me also. We then began duking it out by spamming our Hungering Strike. After the initial confidence from ganking him, things started to go downhill very quickly, and after about 3 seconds I was almost dead and my feeble attempt at running away with my tail between my legs (literally) was met by his speed boost from Blood Scent (his E) and a single Hungering Strike to finish my noob-*** off.
After that game and the constant verbal abuse following the 1v1 from both teams (yes I reported them all for "verbal abuse" xD) I put all my crit damage runes in the rune combiner and vowed to never play Warwick again.
2. Even if you find you are dominating your lane opponents, DO NOT assume that you are now a beast life-stealing carry and can initiate a later team fight whenever you have enough time to press 'R' on your keyboard followed by a left mouse click!!! This will pretty much result in you getting &^%^$^* on by 3 stuns from the resident Sion, Leona and Riven which is invariably followed by your teammates %^&*#@$ you over by running away like they should do. Rather, your best bet in a team fight is to bide your time either out of sight (and out of mind) or somewhere in the background waiting for an opportunity to take out that enemy squishy/carry (primary source of damage) with Infinite Duress. The best combinations include: Galio's ultimate Idol of Durand, Amumu's ultimate Curse of the Sad Mummy with my personal favourite being Gragas ultimate Explosive Cask.
3. Whilst Warwick is not an AD champion, this does not make him a purely ability power (AP) champ either. Along with his natural life-steal abilities, the mix of AP and AD damage is what makes WW such an excellent 1v1 player. That is, due to warwick's ability to deal significant physical and magic damage, enemy champions would have to build both armor and magic resist items in order to fully negate his damage output. As such I don't want to see anyone rushing Rabadon's Deathcap and the like.
With those common mis-conceptions out of the way, its time to explain my rationale for lane Warwick. By maxing Hungering Strike first, WW has a strong damage output (deals percentage of max health- this means tanks and squishies alike have just as much reason to be cautious) which comes along with massive spell vamp at such an early stage of the game (only Morgana has close to that sort of early sustain). Now many of you may question as to why no points are allocated to Hunters Call till Hungering Strike and Blood Scent are maxed. Well, during the early levels I cannot think of any situation (one that will turn out well) where you should be actively seeking to stand stationary and fight your lane opponents using the increased AS from Hunters Call. Rather, by investing those points into Blood Scent when a lane enemy falls below 50% health you suddenly become super-saiyan. That is, your movement speed will be increased to the point that no-one will be able to either catch you (minus stuns, slows, etc) nor escape from you.
My general play-style in the lane can be described as a harrassing AP caster. That is, you should be constantly seeking to use your Q ( Hungering Strike) on the most vulnerable/squishiest lane opponent. If the enemy is ranged ad or ap and are harassing you also, the spell vamp returned from a single Hungering Strike negates much of such damage. Furthermore, any chance you get you should be looking to further supplement your lane stay-ability (yes that's a word xD) (and thus ability to continue whittling down your opponent's HP bar) by using your passive Eternal Thirst. This is best achieved by hitting a single minion (the same target) 3 times. Why 3 times you may ask? Warwick's passive returns to him increasing amounts of health for each successive basic attack, up to 3 stacks. Do not feel, however, that you must hit a creep 3 times as quickly as possible as each stack lasts up to 4 seconds.
Magic pen, magic pen, magic pen. I can't stress the usefulness of magic pen enough for not only the early extra damage it will provide you, but later on AP (specifically flat or per lvl runes) is fairly useless for Warwick (and most AP carries for that matter).
Health quints and similar defensive runes (armor, magic resist) are more suitable for your tank. Now whilst you should always look to rush your core items being Malady, Madred's Bloodrazor and Wit's End, after obtaining these 3 items your goal should be to begin building items according to your team's needs and the set-up of the enemy team. This usually results in you becoming an off-tank figther late-game, however the fact remains that you are not (and should not try to be) your team's tank nor initiator.
In order to maximise Warwick's effectiveness you must resist the urge to take out that tasty-looking cocky-*** Ezreal (oh and you will take any squishy carry ie Ashe, Graves, Caitlyn, Teemo, Kog'Maw etc down to 1 quarter health with your ultimate Infinite Duress late game). Rather, you should play to your strengths which lie in your ability to completely remove your team's primary focus from a team-fight by timing your ultimate and not initiating. To maximise this fairly unique ability; magic penetration quintessences, marks and glyphs in combination with Sorcerer's Shoes provide a massive amount of magic penetration for Infinite Duress and Hungering Strike (which both deal magic damage). What this means is that any magic damage you deal bypasses a significant amount of your target's magic resist, thus dealing more damage closer to true damage. The flat armor seals provide better than normal defence early lane however these are not too important and can be switched depending on personal preference.
Alternative runes include: flat and per-level cooldown reduction glyphs (a good alternative however at rank 3 Infinite Duress has a 68 second cooldown), flat cooldown reduction seals, cooldown reduction quintessences and movement speed quintessences (so much speed.....)
Edit: I have recetly discovered mana regen per lvl seals and they basically solve any mana issues you may have throughout the game (be it early solo lane or late-game chases). Again, not the most important runes for solo-top or dual lane Warwick.
Edit: I have even more recently discovered (xD) flat mana regen seals, which in addition with the mana regen from the utility tree (yes i had to waste points on the mana per-lvl masteries to get this -.-) ensure you'll never run out of mana again! Yet again not your biggest, game-changing pre-match decision :)
The offense tree offers few masteries which are worthwhile for Warwick, namely the extra magic penetration. Expanding down this tree is fairly pointless as increases in AP aren't going to help you as you will not be buying pure AP items.
The defensive tree is a good alternative to maxing the utility tree if you find your lacking some beef early game, however I find personally that its a bit of a waste passing up on the cool exp bonuses, mana regen, buff duration and cooldown reductions offered under the utility branch.
All considered, not too an important decision as long as you don't go wasting points on the offensive tree (30-0-0...)(unless you want to try the fun WW builds as provided above in the secondary build tree's xD)
As a rule I always take Flash as it provides great escape and chase opportunities, especially to set up your ultimate or escape a bad decision to ult someone. Personally I take Ignite for early kills (no enemy shall ever escape again with 20HP left!!) and becomes quite handy late game when you want to deliver Tryndamere's, other Warwick's and Vladimir's their ***es on a platter (or any other The Bloodthirster/ Will of the Ancients wielding carries). My personal favourite is to ult the resident Kog'Maw then ignite him while he tries to 1v1 me and watch the fireworks display that always follows (ie: Icathian Surprise).
Useful alternatives include Exhaust and maybe (maybe!) Ghost and Teleport if you feel like it. Everything else is fairly useless for Warwick.
By starting with the Doran's Ring, you receive a sizeable amount of health (100HP) for early surviveability, a little AP (15AP) and a dash of mana regen (5 mana points per 5 seconds). This is pretty much the 3 things you want early for lane WW.
Follow by rushing Sorcerer's Shoes for even more magic penetration (your damage now does more damage!), Malady, Wit's End and Madred's Bloodrazor (as it is your ******* core item boy!). Don't ask me how (read its unique passive) but that item does magic for Warwick and in combination with Wit's End, your ultimate will suddenly be insta-killing any non-health packing squishy carry. On a side note I thought i'd explain the difference between the other two core items of Warwick: Wit's End increases your magic resist per hit, whilst Malady lowers your opponent's magic resist per hit with both dealing magic damage in addition to your basic AD attacks.
CARRY WARWICK ITEMS (ONLY IF FED HARD)
Now, here is where it gets interesting. If completly and utterly fedcore, finish your build by going massive carry Warwick (lots of fun but rarely get the opportunity). Refer to the my build provided on "Team 1" on the second slot for this build (you've got to try this at least once, you will be squishy as hell though and you won't get away with it unless absolutely fed). On a side note, its not mentioned anywhere else, but both Zeke's Harbinger and Will of the Ancients are nice items if your team is either AD or AP heavy, respectively.
AD HEAVY TEAM
If you find yourself on an AD heavy team (ie: Tryndamere, Graves, Caitlyn etc]]) once you build your core 4 ( Sorcerer's Shoes, Malady, Wit's End and Madred's Bloodrazor your best bet is to rush both health and a Thornmail. This will basically allow you to stand and hold off a fed (means very strong xD) AD carry levels above you due to the returned damage from its passive. Worthwhile alternatives include: Warden's Mail (one of 3 building blocks for Randuin's Omen) which decrepifies your AD opponents whilst a completed Randuin's Omen has an awesome active ability! Sunfire Cape (good but not great), Frozen Heart (very useful in that it provides even more cooldown reduction with a cool unique passive) and Guardian Angel (very useful, however in some situations can be fairly useless) are also viable alternatives when facing fed AD carries. As I mentioned previously, WW (most of the time unless massively fed) is best played when built situationally. That is, build yourself to fill the role your team needs the most (most commonly an off-tank-squishy-hunting-bruiser) in a manner that best combats the set-up of the enemy team as well.
AP HEAVY TEAM
Again, once you have acquired your 4 cores begin helping out your team by building up some serious magical resistance. Force of Nature provides not only great magic resist, but also some extra movement speed and health regen (% based of max health) which when combined with Warmog's Armor forms an excellent combination. Banshee's Veil is useful for Warwick in that you will ignore interruptions (stuns, etc) which are bound to occur during your ultimate in an attempt to save their teammates life. Alternatives include Guardian Angel (and again, assess the situation for this item) and Quicksilver Sash (an excellent item if you know how to time and use it as it will remove many current de-buffs).
ITEMS I CANNOT RECOMMEND
First off Spirit Visage....if any of you have read my Vladimir guide you will know how much I despise seeing people wasting time and more importantly gold. Sure it might enhance your passive and reduce cooldowns, but if your versing another Warwick who has the same items but replaces that spirit visage with a Hextech Gunblade, you will lose. badly. All in all it is a filler item not worthy of your precious gold. Boots-wise, Ionian Boots of Lucidity may seem a good idea but cooldown reduction isn't you primary focus as WW, as I have mentioned previously at rank 3 (lvl 16) Infinite Duress has a cooldown of 68 seconds (which means it is short enough so that it will be back up and ready to go for the next team fight once the other team respwans or you 'B' to buy up). Berserker's Greaves are just terrible as with Hunters Call, Madred's Bloodrazor, Malady and Wit's End you will just about have 2.5 AS (the max attack speed you can get) which isn't really necessary anyway. Finally, another reminder not to stack pure AD or AP items as you are not a carry! Unless fed..... ;)
Why not rush Madred's Bloodrazor first like all the other Warwick's?
Now, whilst madred's bloodrzor is probably your best core item in terms of hit-on effects for your ultimate etc, it is simultaneously expensive. like all other great items. An early Malady is cheap, effective and you will notice the buff it provides for your ultimate from rank 1. Wit's End is also relatively cheap and by this time not only will your AS will be very high (and thus more magic damage from the hit-on effects of Malady and Wit's End) but your ult will also be shredding (stolen from Malady's description itself xD) your opponents magic resist, whilst raising your own (hence more survivability). Top this dangerous combo off with Madred's Bloodrazor after these 2 items as you will find yourself surviving more often and securing kills more often which makes it that much easier to get madred's anyway!!!
Thanks for reading my second build :) If there is anything I missed or some information is misplaced please comment below. All questions regarding items, runes, etc are also of course welcomed!!! Next up is my guide to playing Malzahar...Happy New Year!!!