Warwick Build Guide by Psathus
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.
I recently stumbled upon Qwick at the time of my writing this a few days ago. In Summoner's Rift, Warwick is in an awful place. Outclassed as a jungler, his ultimate easily countered, but in the Crystal Scar, his abilities are easily overlooked.
A lot of people appreciate Warwick for his sustain, and try to build him as a tanky DPS or all-out attacker in Dominion, but you should really look into his Q. It is a unique single-target champion spell, in that it is the only one to actually deal flat % damage to a target, instead of affecting autoattacks like Vayne or Kog'Maw. Not only that, but Warwick HEALS when he uses it. The power behind this spell is manifold in Dominion. You can shave off the hit points of just about anyone, you can use it as an excellent execution move, and you can use it as a clutch heal when you're in a bind.
Hungering Strike defines Warwick in Dominion, and you can use it to become a total monstrosity, sustaining yourself in skirmishes while rendering foes helpless by eating through their hit points at a rapid pace.
I hope that you guys like this build as much as I did. I will discuss my choices and tactics below.
I could have built Warwick with more defensive runes, but I feel that they are not nearly as useful in Dominion thanks to the debuff it places on everyone.
Instead, I go for Magic Penetration in order to supplement Hungering Strike, which is the source of most of this build's damage.
The mana regeneration runes are there because you WILL run out of mana as Warwick, and one of your biggest benefits is sustain. These runes will let you stay out on the battlefield a lot longer than usual, and the longer you're out there holding bases and skirmishing, the better.
Cooldown reduction runes are a nicety. I was on the fence about these. I'm certain you can trade CDR runes for magic resistance, but I honestly think it leads to you missing out on a lot of early Qspam. It also helps you cap your cooldown reduction limit as soon as possible, which is extremely important so you can get that Hungering Strike down to 3.6 seconds.
9/21/0 is the sweet spot here. You don't really need a lot of the AP or AD that the offensive tree offers, considering the fact that Hungering Strike is better off just being built to shave a % of a target's HP off. You just need to go in and get that delicious CDR and magic penetration. These are your offensive bread and butter.
I have tried the utility tree, and I will say that it is different. I feel that the small defenses provided by the defensive tree, coupled with scaling cooldown reduction and additional hit points, and all-important % damage reduction (as opposed to the provision of counterable stats) are very useful for your survivability.
If you think you can pull off 9/0/21, go ahead. There is some great stuff in there. Superior flat cooldown reduction for early spam (the scaling CDR is actually excessive in this build), increased experience gain, free speed (something Warwick greatly benefits from), mana regeneration and of course a reduced cooldown on Flash. It's not a bad idea to give this build a try.
I have yet to diverge from this system. Every time it has worked excellently. At the start of the game I pick up my Boots of Speed and a Kindlegem. These are good for your early game fights, but don't expect to make game-breaking contributions here. Focus on executing people and going in and out of the fray to poke people. If your team is running somebody down, don't feel bad about going for the point while it is on cooldown.
After this, I try to hold out as long as I can. If I survive up to 750 gold and people have arrived to defend top, then I let them go ahead, and I purchase my Sorcerer's Shoes. These are crucial to Warwick's build.
You will notice a lot of magic penetration here, and for good reason. Warwick is going to be focusing on his Q here, and the more magic pen you get, the better, Mpen is to Warwick in the Crystal Scar what AP is to normal casters, because the only thing that is going to be getting your % damage down is their magic resist, and your only way to fight it is penetration.
After the shoes, if I'm strapped for cash I'll get an early Spirit Visage, otherwise I'll grab Glacial Shroud. Now you've got 20% cooldown reduction from items, plus your CDR runes and masteries, making you really close to that cap. The cap is why we are going to build into Frozen Heart early on. After that, the fun can begin.
With your Q maxxed out, you will grab Haunting Guise. I know that it's a bizarre pick, but it's cheap and provides you Mpen, something very few items actually do. With this, you're packing 40 magic penetration from items, ~10 from runes, and breaking 10% from your offensive masteries. Your Q might as well be striking for flat true-damage now.
If I'm doing exceptional, instead of picking up Haunting Guise first, I'll go for the Abyssal Scepter. Not only does it help your team a lot more, but it also provides you with invaluable magic resistance, and a minimalist buff to your Q against squishy foes in Dominion (as your Hungering Strike's flat damage may actually outclass 20% of their HP if they have poor health). Regardless, as the game progresses, you should be sure to pick up both Guise and Abyssal. If you pick up Guise first, go for the Negatron Cloak after, it's infinitely more valuable than the Blasting Rod.
The final item is really up in the air. I've put Sunfire Cloak solely because your magic penetration will probably let it deal close-to a flat 40 to everyone around you while also providing you with some last-minute tanky stats. But you can build according to what's bothering you. If you want an Odyn's Veil or a Rylai's Scepter or something of the sort, that's your choice. The game is probably wrapped up at this point, so it will be difficult for you to pull off a big item unless you're loaded. Your best bet is probably just to pick up a chain shirt, cloak or belt.
Why do I prioritize E over W? Mainly because I prefer to increase its range and potency over a W that hardly benefits this Warwick build. If you've got a ton of AD carries on your team and constantly find yourself by their side, feel free to pick up W, it's an excellent steroid for them, and it can really turn the tide of battle. Otherwise, just stick to this, since it focuses on your most important spell - your Q.
Okay. I understand that some people prefer ghost over flash. This build's point in improving offensive summoner spells even facilitates that. If you want to, go for it. I vastly prefer flash so that I can pop out from a defensive position and ult, but ghost is clearly superior for chasing, reaching critical points, and arriving at team fights.
I strongly advise ignite in every situation. Warwick, as I said, deals %-based damage, and it's on a cooldown. You WILL lose kills to this, and it IS frustrating. You can chase them down, usually, but it costs precious time, and you can be baited trying to secure the kill. Ignite will insure that you grab that kill.
Exhaust might be worthwhile. I'm not a fan, but you can probably use it to secure kills or win more engagements with it. Not a bad pick.
Early Game: You suck. Until you have your ult and your Q is shaving a good amount of health %, you are pretty worthless. Your W can steroid your allies while you're contesting top, and your Q can be used to execute and bother people, but it's not that intimidating yet. Just don't die and try to help wherever you can. If you have the chance, capture top while people are distracted. Offer to capture mid, because then your interaction with the fight at top will be reduced, and you can come in at the end, where you're more useful.
Mid Game: This is where you'll start to pick up. You can harass people under their turrets since you'll heal the damage back. You can bait people like hell. Your Q shaves off a decent amount, and since you heal their damage off, if they're not directly engaging you, they're spelling their demise. If you're close to winning a skirmish, hit somebody with Q, ult them, and your Q will come off cooldown at the conclusion. This pair of Q attacks plus the periodic damage of your R will probably be enough to finish them. If you think otherwise, you CAN ignite your foe while you are ulting them, a little-known fact about Warwick, and an excellent one when you want to execute.
This is also where you can start lurking. Warwick is an excellent defender, particularly the top base when you have flash up and the base is captured. You have constant access to a health pack, you can flash out and ult somebody under your turret, forcing them to take fire, and if a few players come to you, you can just flash over and start Q-sustaining off them, running around while the turret picks them off.
Late Game: Once you're CDR capped, you just keep getting better. You're a godlike defender, but you can do some hilarious stealth-pushing. Just pop out from the shadows with a Q, ult, ignite, Q and you probably just got close-to a kill.
You can be the sole cause of a tank's demise, with or without magic resistance, and you can start going balls-out on opponents. You're decently tanky, and your Q makes you a nightmare to 1v1. You will win just about any matchup in which your opponent lacks enough defense to properly mitiagate your Q (which is often). Team fights you are invaluable. A constant source of reliable damage, an ult that can take people out of a fight, an E that ensures weak foes will not escape (and your E will constantly come into play due to how suddenly you can lower the health of your foes), and your W, which is excellent for supporting your allies.
This is a work in progress. I've just discovered and started using this build, but I greatly enjoy it, having earned a great deal of success without deviating from the build. I'll be experimenting with it and posting results here.
No, you're not going to be getting constant first-place Warwick victories, but note that Dominion's scoring system is idiotic. There are a ton of ways to abuse it. You can pop in when people are capping points last-minute and get credit, you can randomly take random killing blows from people, even health packs are worth points.
Remember, Warwick is consistent. You will last, and you will help your team win. You CAN dominate, but that is not the point of this build. The point of this build is to create a contributing member to a team.