This guide is intended for those who've played Wukong before, or those who are at least familiar with him by playing against him and watching the Champion Spotlight. If you haven't watched the Wukong Champion Spotlight by Riot Games yet, go do so. I'll still be here :)
Wukong is a bursty AD champion that's been given a lot of slack recently for being "underpowered." Well, I've had a lot of success and fun with him, and in the place everyone seems to think he's no good at - jungling!
Wukong is not the fastest or most survivable jungler. He is, however, an amazing roamer and ganker. He is also very capable of achieving many amazing jukes, kites, and out-of-the-*** kills when you fully master Decoy. Let me just put it out here right now - if you can't master Decoy, you won't enjoy or succeed with Wukong. It's his bread and butter. More on this later.
In this guide I will explain my jungling route, build, and gameplay tips. The plan is gank early, level fast, take early towers, and maybe even counter-jungle a little. So lean back, take a sip of your drink, and enjoy my guide! Hopefully I'll help improve your games and maybe even make a dent in the popular attitude regarding Wukong :D
This is a guide for an aggressive, ganking, counter-jungling Wukong that's always ruining his opponents' day. The masteries are built around being quick and hard-hitting. Unlike Phreak, I recommend no defensive masteries and getting your survivability from Decoy and smart play.
Marks and Seals are self-explanatory. AD and Dodge are inferior in my mind but acceptable alternatives.
Glyphs, I feel, are best spent in flat CDR. It's the only offensive stat that glyphs give a decent amount of, and while MR is a fine alternative it doesn't help much in the jungle. I've died and lived on many split-seconds, so while MR is an acceptable alternative I think you're best served going flat CDR for the eary advantage.
Quintessences can literally be any of those listed. With the debuff from Crushing Blow, you're almost always going to be attacking with zero damage reduction before anyone buys armor items. Armor reduction effects are applied before penetration effects, meaning the enemy's base armor is reduced by 30% BEFORE your 21 arp from marks & masteries is applied. An additional 10 from Quintessences will be overkill on champions until later in the game, so what I would recommend most is flat AD Quints.
All the same, any of the quints I listed above are acceptable. Movespeed, AS, flat health, crit %, and even arp will all work well for you. Wukong is a bursty assassin, so build him accordingly.
Makes some difference, but not much. Doesn't make him a tank.
This resets your attack timer AND deals its bonus damage to turrets! But no, it doesn't apply the debuff to turrets. When you Nimbus Strike in, make sure to let the first autoattack land before pressing Q. This will basically give you two and a half attacks in the time of one, also reducing armor.
NOTE: % armor reduction effects, such as , only affect the target's base armor. Which means you're pretty much never gonna get more than 30 total armor reduction out of this move, and even less against some champions. Fiddlesticks, for example, starts with 11 armor at level 1 (lol). A level 18 Caitlyn will have 72.5 base armor, meaning will reduce her armor by a total of 21.75.
Decoy is Wukong's signature move. It's what defines him, what balances him, what makes him over or under powered. Decoy is such a great ability and I could probably write an entire guide only about ways to use it. But instead I'll settle for some quick pointers.
Escape. Not just to mash when running away from the bad guys, but to set up jukes. Pop Decoy, then change directions. Run into the nearest bush. Or, run into the bush, then right before your opponent enters and run away. He'll almost always waste an ability or attack on your decoy, buying you time to get away.
Stealth Attack. The stealth lasts 1.5 seconds. That's not long, but it can be long enough. Learn how much vision minions and enemy champions have, so you'll know how close you can get before being seen. This maximizes how long you will stay invisible before attacking, increasing your likelyhood of success.
Also, if you know that an enemy ward or cv is revealing you in your little hiding place, they're probably just looking at you on the minimap. Use that to your advantage - a decoy looks the same on the minimap, so you get 1.5 seconds of free time where they actually think you're holding still!
AoE damage. It's not much, but if you have blue buff or just a full mana pool then every little bit helps. Before attacking a minion camp, pop Decoy then Nimbus Strike. At low levels, such as your first time attempting blue buff, this will actually make the small lizards die on your second Nimbus Strike instead of your third. That's actually very helpful because it means less damage from the monsters and sooner XP, possibly topping off your current level before you even finish killing the buff minion.
Faking out. Once you know your opponents are familiar with how Decoy works, you're now free to abuse the "s" on your keyboard. Simply pressing "s" to stop your champion in his tracks looks identical to activating Decoy. Against experienced opponents, this creates an incredible mindgame. It will work the first time or two, making them stop attacking you and running in the direction they predict you've gone. You then simply actually press Decoy and run away.
Then your enemies will be expecting you to press "s" instead of actually popping Decoy, meaning now you're free to use Decoy all on its own, run away, and watch them kill your clone. Doing these tricks is so fun I don't know what to do with myself.
Initiating team fights. This one you might screw up once or twice, but it's not that complicated in practice. You simply Nimbus Strike into the entire enemy team, then Decoy. You have 1.5 seconds to reposition yourself and wait for the rest of your team to engage. Every time, my decoy will take burst damage from the enemy team. Usually only the first ability or two of most of the champs, but it's free damage mitigation. I can't express how much this helps your team's chances of winning the fight. Especially since the next thing you do is pick a target, Crushing Blow, and pop Cyclone. Knockups and damage to the whole enemy team (AFTER your tank has engaged). This right here is pure win, and for some reason I just don't see other Wukongs doing it.
Keep in mind if the enemy team has an Oracle's, this strategy becomes a lot less safe. In the franticness of a team fight, one or two enemies will probably still hit your decoy. But you're going to take damage if they can see you, so you should either just let your tank initiate or make sure you can survive the burst.
Kiting. Basically, since Wukong is designed for burst damage rather than sustained 1v1 combat, if your ult's not up and you wanna solo a guy then use Decoy to try and waste his spells and wait for your cooldowns. The bad guy can lifesteal/spellvamp off of your decoy, as well as build Rageblade stacks and the like, so know when to use Decoy to kite and when to use it to run.
Trying to burn the enemies' cooldowns. This is unlikely to work against players familiar with Monkey King, even less so more than once. But sometimes you can get away with entering the enemy's range, popping W, and watching him insta-gib an image. I once watched a Malzahar pop his full combo on my decoy :D funniest thing I've seen in a game of LoL. He even ignited it!
NOTE: If the enemy targets you with a single-target ability, like Taric's stun or Annie's Q, using Decoy while the projectile is moving will not save you. The projectile will hit you and not your decoy. This will make it instantly apparent that you used Decoy, so be careful when trying to bait people into nuking your decoy.
Last one, I promise. Blocking line-fire abilities. This includes anything that is stopped or reduced by its first target, from Ezreal's Mystic Shot to, yes, Caitlyn's ultimate. Decoys can block Cait's ult, and you actually have time to react to it, too :D
Wukong's E is his gap closer and burst enabler. You jump over, whack up to two additional nearby targets, and gain increased attack speed for 3 seconds. Simple and awesome. Use it to chase, kill, and sometimes even escape if there are enemy minions in the right direction from you.
Yes, the scaling is kind of weird. Starting at 20, it goes up by 90 per skill level while maintaining a 1.0 AD ratio in bonus damage. Note this is damage per second. At level 6, with, say, 85 AD, Cyclone will do up to 420 physical damage before armor mitigation, AND a knock-up. In a wide area of effect, centered on you, granting you bonus movement speed for the duration. This ability is not underpowered - you just need to land all of its damage. Which isn't hard. Most importantly, with the Decoy initiation trick, you'll be knocking up the entire enemy team and almost guaranteeing your team wins the fight.
When using to kill or gank, make sure to combo with Crushing Blow and Ignite for maximum killing power.
NOTE: Just like Garen's Judgment, you can press the button again while spinning to cancel the spin. You might do this intentionally so you can last-hit with Q or try to escape with W. But it's very easy to just mash R a few times to make sure it goes off. The problem is that if it does go off and you press R again, you'll cancel the spin immediately after beginning. This would be a wasted ult and I've done it myself a couple times. So don't mash R - you'll lose a free kill!
Start with Doran's Blade. For jungling, you say? Trust me, it's all you need for your first item and it's going to help more later. Skip down to the jungling section if you just can't wait to find out why I would recommend going into the jungle with a DB.
My goal when playing Wukong with this build is to have two Doran's Blade, a Berserker's Greaves, and a Zeal as early as possible while still dropping wards and carrying potions. Since your early game damage is strong, this build enables you to apply that damage and his other talents quickly and effectively.
I nearly always pick Berserker's Greaves over Mercury's Treads for three reasons:
AS can increase the number of hits you land during the Crushing Blow debuff
AS helps you jungle faster
With Decoy and high MS, you should never get caught out of position
Generally, if you do get caught, 35% of less than two seconds is unlikely to make the difference between life and death. Attack speed, however, will help you basically every time you're attacking. 'Serker's is cheaper anyway.
Ghostblade is my favorite item to follow up with because it's easy to build and provides some intense burst damage. You'll have huge MS, AS, AD, cit%, and 100% arp when Ghostblade is active, which spells out some quick death for whichever poor soul you Nimbus Strike onto. The arp can be a bit of a waste, but against towers and against champions later in the game the stat is immensely helpful.
My preferred, full build for a game going well is Doran's Blade Doran's Blade Berserker's Greaves Zeal Youmuu's Ghostblade
sell a DB The Bloodthirster
a second Zeal
and then whatever defensive item would be most helpful. Nothing wrong with a GA here, being that Decoy
will most likely be up when you revive if you need it.
There are a lot of viable item builds for Wukong, the Monkey King. I believe the Greaves, double Doran's Blades, and Zeal are core on him. After that my favorite item is Youmuu's Ghostblade, but there are several ways to go.
I like to buy this after Ghostblade if the game is going well. Proper use of your abilities, especially Decoy, will usually mean you have the fewest deaths on your team. Infrequent deaths means a lot of stacks on your BT, which can mean up to 100 damage and 25% lifesteal from this item alone. Massive and cost-effective, it also fits well with your role as the jungler.
Straight for the big stuff, going with B. F. Sword and Pickaxe first will give the easiest transitional bonuses and lead you into big damage fairly early in the game. I feel IE is too slow for my Wukong playstyle, and even in long games I usually don't get one. It is still the strongest AD item so it's completely a viable option.
This can often be overkill in the arp department against squishies, but Cleaver is a strong option on Wukong that synergizes with his kit well. Definitely consider this if the enemy team is stacking armor.
An item with useful bonuses for Wukong, but I feel inefficient for your needs. It doesn't give much damage, and the slow is less effective since Wukong is designed for burst damage. The health is good, but not needed. Your survivability should come from using Deocy right. That said, Frozen Mallet can be great if you're new to playing Wukong or if you're carrying your team. One damage advantage to FM is that it can be followed up with Atma's Impaler, making for strong damage and survivability. I dislike this route because, as stated earlier, Wukong has a different role to play in your team and I feel your items should focus on boosting that role instead of helping him fill others. The FM/Atma's route takes a long time to give you the damage you want.
Good and easy to build, but not quite exactly what fills your needs. Nothing wrong with building one in the very late game, but I feel you're better off taking my advice over Phreak's on this one.
Yes, sword of the occult. If you're 6-0 early game and rocking faces with ease, a Sword of the Occult can make your victory all that much more certain. Being a champion with a great escape mechanism, it's also not hard to imagine keeping your stacks. However, I think the snowball items are too risky of an investment for almost any champion, meaning Sword of the Occult, while having huge potential, is probably best skipped on Wukong.
I recommend prioritizing your burst damage first when buying items, however nearly every game is going to require you to build some durability when team fights become more frequent.
My favorite defensive item on Wukong. Should you meet an untimely death you will rise again, this time with Decoy off cooldown. Armor and mr are always helpful as well. Keep in mind, however, that much of the cost of this item is in its effect. The armor/mr you get from this is not efficiently costed, so if all you want is a little more durability then I suggest something else.
An obvious choice. The mana will usually be unnecessary, but this item is a popular go-to in the competitive meta for a reason.
MS and MR are both very helpful. The regen won't help much, obviously more if you've bought a Frozen Mallet. FM, Atma's, and FoN make for a tanky Monkey King, but of course this would be building your Monkey King for a role for which I think he's not suited. He's an assassin, not tanky-dps. Every game is different, however, so be prepared to consider it.
I don't like this item because you have to be in an "oh ****" situation for it to be worth its gold. The AD and MR bonuses are weak, thus gimping you until you're low and about to die, in which case you need to run away anyway. I think it's too narrow in its uses for my money, but I know a lot of players who think this item might as well be the ******* of Jesus. I'll put it here because he's an AD champion and a lot of you like it.
For armor, you're better off getting Wriggle's Lantern or Atma's Impaler than any devoted defensive armor items. Atma's is still going to give 40+ damage with only the two Doran's Blades, and cost-efficient double duty on defensive items is a good thing.
I think Wriggle's Lantern is an outstanding choice here, especially if the enemy team has strong physical damage early in the game. Feel free to make Wriggle's a part of your core, but the reason I skip out on it most of the time is because I want more burst damage from my early gold.
As usual, Thornmail is a great idea if the enemy team's damage is nothing but autoattacks. This usually shouldn't be the case, so very rarely should you find the need to grab Thornmail. Not to mention, the plan with Wukong is hit-and-run. Sustained combat should usually be avoided. This is also true for Randuin's Omen and Frozen Heart.
This is the most important part of my build. My plan is be level 3 and ganking before 3 minutes 30 seconds into the game. Success with this plan will produce a strong, early advantage for your team, even if you don't end up landing a kill. Forcing the opponent to recall can do just as much damage as death, as well as netting you some free damage on the turret.
Start with Wraiths. 1 minute 40 seconds is when the Wraiths, Wolves, and little Golems spawn. The moment Wraiths spawn, Smite the blue Wraith and immediately Nimbus Strike the middle brown Wraith. You should finish them off before Nimbus Strike comes back off cooldown and with 3/4s of your health, but go ahead and again if the cd comes up.
Move to Wolves. Nimbus Strike the big wolf and kill it first. Once big wolf dies, you will ding level 2. Learn Crushing Blow and finish off the wolves. You should have around a third or less of your health left; recall the moment the last wolf dies.
Buy a Sight Ward and 4 Health Potions. Go to little golems. Nimbus Strike the first one as soon as it's in range, Smite it, and Crusing Blow it. Make sure to activate a Health Potion. The first golem should die after only a few autoattacks, then kill the second one as fast as possible. Once the second one dies, you'll hit level 3.
Head toward the nearest lane and gank it. Time on the clock should be right at 3:20 when you get to the lane. Drop a ward in the river along the way (this is important). Your options should be mid, bot if you're blue, or top if you're purple. Purple top is great because 2v1 is an easier kill than 2v3, but blue bot has the potential to make two kills instead of one. Crossing the map to gank the lane opposite from little golems will take more time than its worth, so make sure your team knows to not push to the enemy towers or else they'll screw up your game plan.
Make sure the lane has some kind of cc available to make the kill a success. //
lands a lot of quick damage, but not enough to insta-gib someone from full. Ganks are a team effort.
If you expect the enemy has warded the "gank" bush, grab Decoy at lv3. They'll have their eye on you, so when you Decoy and run in their reactions will be delayed by 1.5 seconds! The consequences will be 30 less damage and a slightly longer cooldown on , but that's a small price to pay if it makes your gank work.
After the gank, go ahead and stay in the lane and steal a few last hits. If a teammate or two died in the gank, man the lane until he/she returns. If it's plausible, and you didn't forget to put a ward in the river, go ahead and push the lane to lay some damage on the turret. Nothing wrong with that.
Usually what I'll do here is go grab Wraiths/Wolves again, recall, and buy boots + pots/wards. Ganking mid is an option if he's vulnerable, and if your teammate reveals the enemy jungler on blue with CV then go ahead and gank that poor bastard.
If you do Wraith/Wolves and recall, go kill blue and then gank again. Make sure to leave a ward in this river, too. Usually you'll be level 5 when your blue golem dies, but if you've got two or three takedowns under your belt already then you just might be level 6, which basically means free kills. Just be smart about engaging.
At this point in the game, there really isn't much of a formula anymore. At any point you might need to come help defend a lane, cover for a dead teammate, counterjungle, or just gank all the time. Between entering lanes, focus on clearing the small minion camps to reach specific goals, such as leveling up or gaining enough gold to buy a specific item. You don't stay in the jungle for long periods of time; your jungling serves as a stepping stone to gaining levels and items between ganks and defending lanes. You should be highly mobile and probably not attempt red buff or dragon on your own for a while.
I highly recommend that anyone attempting this strategy perfect your skills in custom games before you find yourself wasting time because you overestimated your ability to clear a camp with low health. You should have a good feel for when you can clear a minion camp and when you cannot before trying my build out in a ranked game.
The Rest of the Game
Do all the ganking, warding, and map control you can for as long as possible. You're a mobile, lethal assassin with great juking abilities and a powerful ult. Control the enemy jungle. You should be ahead of your opponents in gold and items, being that Wukong has a very strong early game. If the enemy AP carries are built, they can most likely still insta-gib you. So be careful and tricky.
When the gamestate evolves to where everything is 5v5 and about pushes, Wukong's role becomes a little more limited. Your ultimate is still amazing in teamfights, but even with a tank initiating for you you're going to need to Nimbus/Decoy if you don't want to be melted in two seconds. Without your ult or a tank initiating for you, all you can do is try to catch enemies out of position and burst them down.
In a team fight, you'll want to focus the ranged enemy carries. AD and AP alike. That means Annie, Ashe, Orianna, Vayne - any one of the two or three squishy high-dps champions that will usually be on the enemy team. You want them to die and die quickly.
With Ghostblade and a Bloodthirster, you'll also be able to knock down turrets and structures fast. Do it. Even backdoor if you get the chance. And don't forget that if there are enemy minions next to the structure, you can Nimbus Strike to one and switch back to the turret/inhibitor, taking advantage of the AS buff from Nimbus. You're going to need some armor/health if you plan to tank a turret by yourself, but usually at this point in the game the turrets aren't sitting at 100%.
Things to Fear
Silences. A Soraka that's anal about silencing you will keep you from using Decoy when you need it. This is frustrating and disruptive to your gameplay. When this is being a problem, simply learn to anticipate those silences and play around them. Not always easy, but better than feeding.
Pink wards. I've yet to have pink wards used against me, and that's probably because there wasn't a Twitch or Eve on my team. Still, if one of the lanes is using pink wards to see invisible units, that's gonna make it a lot harder to gank them or to ward those spots yourself.
You can, however, punish them for it. Assuming your teammates in lane haven't fed, your presence is still threatening. Meaning you can occasionally come over, attempt a gank, and probably just end up zoning them out a little bit. This will push the lane and hamper their last hits, making the additional cost of Vision as opposed to Sight wards even more damaging. Who knows, you might even still get lucky and make those wards an even greater waste of gold.
Oracle's Elixir. This is a strong counter to your Decoy. However, most of your encounters will not be teamfights and will not involve these. Most games you won't see it at all, but the better you're doing the more likely they will buy it just to counter you and kill wards, even if there isn't another stealth-based champion on the team.
So that's it, my guide on playing Wukong, the Monkey King. Perhaps I was a little too detailed, maybe none of you reading now actually read all of the above, but that's fine. Just skim through the subjects if you only want to read about one or two subjects. I'm glad to have offered help to you and to receive any feedback you may have for me. Feel free to shoot me questions and I'll try to get back to you as soon as possible.
Remember, this is guide for how I play Wukong. It's not the only way to play him; namely, he makes a pretty decent top solo. But this guide details what I believe to be his most effective role - as a fast, aggressive roamer that ganks and controls lanes for his team, building a strong early advantage.
So good luck, and have fun!