Olaf Build Guide by KingEmonerd

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League of Legends Build Guide Author KingEmonerd

Olaf, the Berserker

KingEmonerd Last updated on November 29, 2011
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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: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hello ladies and gentlemen, EmoN here, bringing you today the only male champion who becomes stronger the more he is going to die: Olaf, the Berserker. His passive, in combination with his spells, make him deceptively dangerous at low health, and make him a more and more difficult champion to take down, the more you deal damage to him.

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So to start off, we'll go over his abilities:

You throw a line nuke that deals a moderate amount of physical damage to all units it passes through. It also slows these units, and the axe provides a small instance of vision wherever it lands. Good for checking brushes, but the cool part about it, is that its cooldown is lowered by 6 seconds if you walk over the axe again. Using it for chasing becomes very much possible this way.

You gain a moderate amount of lifesteal and spell vamp for a reasonably long duration. This is what will keep you alive throughout low-health fights. It keeps your health at the same level all the time, whilst your enemy will just keep on trying to harass you, and fail horribly at it.

You deal a GIANT amount of true damage to a single enemy, at the cost of quite the amount of health. But 300+ TRUE damage is more than damaging to enemy champion, especially squishy DPS carries. The cost becomes more and more every levelup, but it's more than worth it. The sad part of it is though that I haven't seen it being affected by the spell vamp provided by Vicious Strikes.

You're like Alistar but without slow attack speed and rediculous cooldowns. You remove all CC from yourself, and become immune to all forms of disables (except Silence and Blind) for a duration. You'll know how useful it becomes once you face off against a Malzahar or Warwick. You also passively gain a ****load of Armor Pen, going up to 30 Flat Armor Pen.

This is why Olaf becomes more and more dangerous if you deal amounts of damage to him. He gains 1% attack speed for every 1% health he is missing. Without any attack speed items, you are at about 1,5 attacks per second at 'visible' low health. Making good use of this in combination with Vicious Strike makes you survive 2v1 ganks.

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Skill Usage


  • Your axe is very powerful once it hits Lv.2. If you duo-bot, make sure you have your lane partner to follow up, and spam your axe. It deals crazy damage throughout the entire game.
  • If you have the mana to spare (i.e. when wearing Blue Buff), you can farm creeps very easily. Throw your axe through the entire wave, pick it up, and throw it back through. This should take down the entire wave. Use Reckless Swing on the cannon minion to take it down.

Vicious Strikes
  • Vicious Strikes not only grants you a truckload of lifesteal, it also grants you bonus attack damage. Use this to your advantage if you need to get a buff or a creep wave, just to get that one item.
  • The lifesteal component is more than capable of keeping you alive throughout ganks. Make sure you survive the CC part of the gank, and then go ape**** with Vicious Strikes and Undertow.

Reckless Swing
  • Regardless of resists, this is a single-target nuke that deals a certain amount of damage. Use it to your advantage if you face a tank, since its cooldown is also very short.
  • This is a great harassing tool during the laning phase. The slow from Undertow helps you to follow up with some basic attacks and a Reckless Swing.

  • This spell is similar to Alistar's Unbreakable Will. Use the remove-all-CC-part to your advantage (e.g. when you get ganked or are stuck in the middle of a team fight). Pop it and get out as fast as you can.
  • This spell also brings you a passive Armor Pen. bonus, which goes up to 30. If you like the more offensive way, this can bring you up to a total of 100 Armor Pen. (utilizing Armor Pen. Marks and Quints, and a Black Cleaver).

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Runes, Masteries and Summoner Spells


For Runes, I take the following:
9 Greater Mark of Desolation
9 Greater Seal of Armor
9 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
3 Greater Quintessence of Desolation

These runes are aimed at giving me the best damage output throughout the entire game (but especially in early game), as well as giving me that extra bit of survivability in the early game through being a bit more resistant against those pesky repeat-offenders.


For Masteries, I take a tanky setup which looks like this:What I take here, is the Armor Pen. in Offense and Improved Exhaust. In Defense, I take the Bonus Health, CDR per Lv., and the Juggernaut, which is great because it gives you bonus Max Health.


For Summoner Spells, I like the following:

Exhaust: Exhaust is a great spell on any and all physical damage dealers, or those who deal the majority of their damage in this fashion. Olaf is no exception. Against other physical damage dealers, it can make a world of difference to have it or to lack it. I prefer this over any other Summoner Spell on Ph.D. dealers.
Flash: Olaf kinda lacks the escape mechanisms. Now of course Olaf wasn't ment to run, he was designed to take single characters head-on. But if you do fing yourself in a sticky situation, Ragnarok and Flash might save your life.

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If you wish to have a quick item build for Olaf before going into game, look up and read it there. This section goes a bit more in-depth.

A Regrowth Pendant is the only option for an Olaf utilizing Reckless Swing as much as I do. If you like tagging those curious carries who just can't resist face-checking brush with 100 True damage, then this is your item to bgin with. If you like to go different, however, take Boots and a few Health Pots to go.

What I like to do, is not take boots on my first trip back. Instead, I take a Giant's Belt to-go. This helps me deal mad damage the entire time with Vicious Strikes, as well as make myself known as a character who is kinds difficult to take down. The Belt also helps you stay in lane longer, as it simply proves a bunch of health.

Next b, I take my Boots and a Ruby Crystal. This is another part into our Warmog. It's our last buy, because it is by far the worst possible buy in the shop. I find it more or less sad that it has such a low price-quality ratio. But oh well, it builds into what we want, so it's a means to an end.

Now, we'll upgrade it all into a Warmog's Armor. Now it's key to get farming and killstealing to get those 'stacks' on the Warmog going. Next, we'll go a bit more on the weak side. I call it weak, because more often than not, you'll be mentioned as having a bad build if you get a Chain Vest and a Negatron Cloak. This because we'll not only want to be damaging (for this, look up the random guides that state Phantom Dancers as good items when stacked), but also to be able to stay in a fight longer. You may have about 3k/3,5k health, this doesn't make you invulnerable like minions are when they are TP'ed to.

Once again, for Olaf, we'll go the classic Atmog's. This is our 'first' item, so upgrade the Chain Vest into an Atma's Impaler whenever you have about 1800 gold to spare. If you have more than that (be it via jungling, killstealing or excessive farming and pushing), try and get some Regrowth Pendants. They will help us get our next item, which is going to be a Force of Nature.

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  • Be as passive as you can possible get, without losing too much farm. This from a solotop-prespective. Try and poke your enemy if you can, but don't overcommit just yet. Prevent greed at all costs.
  • Your axe deals a moderate amount of damage throughout all ranks of it (if you level it second). Put it to good use, as it is a nice poke, and a better farming method than last-hitting them all and putting yourself in harm's way.
  • Take the buffs if you like. They make farming a lot easier, as it allows Undertow-spamming like mad. If your carries need them, give them. There's the enemies' buffs to steal in any circumstance :)
  • Push towers if you can. As mentioned before, Vicious Strikes not only gives you lifesteal, but flat AD too. Put it to good use on towers, as your low health will only increase your attack speed, but the lifesteal won't affect towers at all.
  • If you're tanky enough, get in the middle of a team fight and take out the main carries within a matter of seconds. If you have already finished the TriForce, the Sheen-stacks will massively increase your damage output, as you probably will be spamming the 4-second cooldown 340 True damage nuke, with some basic attacks in between.
  • Don't overcommit to a fight if you're at low health. Vicious Strikes is a good spell, it may keep you alive for a bit, but it is not capable of making you survive entire teamfights 4v1.
  • Facetank and push a turret or two if you see the opportunity. Your Vicious Strikes and low-health DPS-gain make for a good pushing champion.

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Olaf is powerful. I raged when I saw his true damage got buffed, and that's the exact reason I picked him up. He has become much more survivable and durable through the patch, he can use his abilities so much better now. The only thing to a good Olaf, is using his abilities in good synch with each other. Without knowhow on Olaf (my very first game, I went 20/6, no joke), you're no good.

EmoN signing off.

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Update Record

28 November 2011

  • Updated the item build. I tried it differently in a game, and it turns out: Olaf really doesn't need a Mallet to be powerful. A Warmog's is more than enough to create both natural bulk and some nice damage.
  • Updated the items section to not include the Mallet, but focus on it a bit differently.
  • Updated the "Skill Usage" and "Playstyle" sections to my new layout. Thanks to JhoiJhoi for that :)