Olaf Build Guide by FreestyleKneepad
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.
Hey there, it's FreestyleKneepad. You might know me, but you probably don't. That's why introductions are important.
As for Olaf's introduction... you know that wallet Sam L. Jackson had in Pulp Fiction? The one that said "Bad Motherf*cker"? Olaf not only owns that wallet, that's the brand of his clothes, the name of the smith that made his axes, and the name of the ******* street he lives on. Olaf made all of these people choose these names under fear of death because he truly is the baddest motherf*cker in the League.
He is... THE CRUSHINATOR.
I picked up Olaf a loooooong time ago after I realized that the Brolaf skin was the greatest thing ever. I quickly realized that Olaf is much harder than he appears to be, and that led to utter failure playing him. However, because Olaf was so awesome (and because I wanted to justify spending 20 bucks on a skin I'd otherwise never use) I kept trying every few months or so until something just... clicked. Suddenly Olaf made sense. I got it. And from that point forward I played the baddest motherf*cker to hit top lane since the MFing Cho'Gath.
Olaf is an incredibly fun champion for those who prefer champs that can wade through all those pesky Brand spells to smash the stupid candle-head right in his ugly jack-o-lantern face. It's a total power trip to take a huge beating and still come out on top, and that kind of feeling is what drives the experience of playing Olaf. He's an extremely risky champ in lane and in the jungle, but a good Olaf player can still do extremely well even when outlaned, outfarmed and outkilled.
This is my second guide, I wrote my first a very short time ago and people told me they wanted more, which was enough to convince me to kill another 6 hours writing something that would never ever benefit my future in the real world. It was either this or getting around to beating Resistance 3, so you d*mn kids had better appreciate it.
This is not a build guide.
I don't like following builds to the letter. It promotes bad habits and should be avoided at all costs.
A good player should know a large number of items that work well with their champion. I can provide you with a large list of items that work well with Olaf and I can tell you what items are good in what situations, but I refuse to tell you exactly what items to by for the "average" game, because the idea of an average game does not exist.
Here's the direct quote from Bguggs about his guide on MOBAfire. It mainly applies to tanks, but it's a concept that really applies to the game as a whole:
"I think it's a common misconception. There is no build. This isn't a build. There can be no build. You can't "build" a tank with an item path. You can only list the options and scenarios in which they make the best choice. Every Rammus must learn to itemize each game as an independent unit. I think this is a limitation of MobaFire. It gets you thinking linearly, when LoL isn't a linear game. HoG, Aegis, Randuin's... I mean, there are plenty of games when I get none of those items. The "build" listed on the cheat sheet is less than a suggestion, it's a snapshot of a possible game."
My build has Wriggle's Lantern, Boots of Speed and Giant's Belt because I feel those are the only items you need on Olaf for every game. You should adapt for everything else on the fly, and build from your experience with what items work well on Olaf.
If you want nothing more than a rune/mastery/item build, there's plenty of shorter guides on MOBAfire.
If you want a hefty guide explaining everything I care to share about Olaf and my thoughts on how he should be played, you're in the right place. Get comfy, I tend to ramble.
What You Need To Know
There are a few things that are absolutely vital to know if you are playing Olaf in 5 seconds for the first time and some drug lord has a gun to your head and he's gonna shoot you if you lose. First off, you're kinda f*cked. Drug lords tend to go back on their word, so he'll probably shoot you anyways. Nice knowing you. Second, here you go.
- Olaf + Lifesteal = NEVER DIE
- Olaf + Ghost = UNGANKABLE
- Olaf + Pentakill Drummer = DESTINY
- Olaf's Reckless Swing is the biggest spammable true damage in the game. Max it early and use it often.
- Olaf's Undertow throws an axe which lands at the end of the skillshot. Pick it up to basically remove its cooldown entirely.
- Olaf benefits heavily from health, resistance and energy regen.
- Ragnarok acts as a Cleanse as well as CC immunity. It has some damage reduction as well, but not enough to make a gigantic difference.
-Just because Olaf's passive makes him deepsy at low health doesn't make you Tryndamere. Get lifesteal to use this effectively, and know when to leg it.
-Brolaf is the best skin ever. Better than Gentleman Cho'Gath or Superb Villain Veigar.
Olaf's role as a tanky DPS champ is to GRAAAAAARGH KILL THE WEAK RAPE THE WOMEN KICK THEM IN THE FACE AXE LIGHTNING HOLY SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT. That's Olafese for "take sh*ttons of damage, never get CCed and kick the *** of all that exists". Olaf is made to receive damage as much as he takes it, so playing defensively with Olaf is like building Lich Bane on Veigar. You're just denying your true power, you girly sissy man.
He's not exactly an initiator, but in a team lacking a Malphite, Amumu or MFing Cho'Gath, he'll make do. Initiating is as simple as chucking your axe at something. It doesn't matter if it hits (although it's better if it does) because it's only a distraction for the BEAST OF UNGODLY FURY BARRELING OUT OF THE BRUSH TO oh what the f*ck where'd my team go now I'm dead thanks guys.
The problem is, Olaf lacks any hard CC at all, so he's really not suited for the role of main tank. Main tanks need to be able to peel angry enemy Xin Zhaos off of squishy, killable allied Morganas, and Olaf's only way to do that is by killing the sh*t out of them. Sure, it works, but when you're building to tank, your only damage is your true damage burst, and even that that's pretty iffy.
Olaf is best played as the role he was made for: an offtank DPS meant to run in after the initiator, soak up secondary damage and CC and deal out INSAEN DEEPS before either lifestealing it all back or turning and burning so the stupid ones chase you right into your carry's range.
Fact: While playing Olaf, the louder you shout, the harder you will carry your team.
Pros / Cons
-Spammable true damage burst
-Rapes resistance tanks
-Insane attack speed w/o AS items
-Amazing 1v1 capability
-Farms very well, very easily
-Can't Be Disabled!
-Can't Be Disabled!
-Can't Be Disabled!
-Can't Be Disabled!
-Can't Be Disabled!
-Can't Be Disabled!
-Holds the single greatest skin in the League of Legends, bro
-No natural gapcloser
-Movement speed-wise, he's a jogger, not a sprinter
-No hard CC
-Does not benefit from AP in any way
-Not effective as a full tank
-Extremely risky gameplay
-Always gets kicked out of libraries
I'll just leave this here.
Passive: Berserker Rage
(Innate): For every 1% of his health missing, Olaf's attack speed increases by 1%.
Sure, this passive sounds simple. But it's not. It's insane. It's what makes Olaf such a 1v1 monster. First that Tryndamere will think he's hot ****, then he'll suddenly be faced with an Olaf lifestealing right through his Undying Rage and ready and waiting to give him a faceful of death when his little temper tantrum is over. See, Olaf doesn't believe in "chilling out". The last person to tell Olaf to chill out spent five hours picking up their teeth with what few fingers Olaf had left attached to their hands.
Berserker Rage synergizes so well with Vicious Strikes and lifesteal that Olaf can become shockingly durable the lower he gets in health. It takes really good judgment but you can win 2v1s with this passive.
This is also what makes jungle Olaf so insane, but I don't play jungle Olaf so we won't talk about that. I believe Olaf shouldn't look for pathetic jungle monsters to fight, he should be crushing towers with his bare hands and driving his enemies before him as soon as possible.
(Active): Olaf throws an axe to a target location, dealing 50 / 90 / 130 / 170 / 210 (+50% of attack damage) physical damage to units it passes through and slowing them by 24 / 28 / 32 / 36 / 40 % for 2.5 seconds. If Olaf picks up the axe, the ability's cooldown is reduced by 6 seconds.
Olaf's axe (which I'm assuming is named Undertow instead of "The Manshredder" because I don't know what Undertow means) is his primary means of ranged combat and his method of ganking from the jungle, which is another reason I don't like jungle Olaf. It's the skill I get first and with 1 rank it does about as much damage as an auto-attack so you can use it to last hit from a distance, and if you're really pro you can hit both minions and a champion with it. Don't feel obligated to pick it up when you throw it, the cooldown's not that long, but if you need to speed push a lane, throw it, pick it up and throw it back through the minion wave until mass casualties occur. This is how Olaf deals with many of life's persistent problems, from annoying neighbors to car payments.
Also, UNDERTOW GIVES VISION FOR A SPLIT SECOND WHEN IT LANDS. CHECK BUSHES WITH THIS ALWAYS. Try to hit the middle of the bush, cause if you hit the edge it might not show the actual insides of the bush.
W: Vicious Strikes
(Active): For 6 seconds, Olaf's attack damage is increased by 7 / 14 / 21 / 28 / 35 (+1% of his maximum health) and he gains 9 / 12 / 15 / 18 / 21 % life steal and spell vamp.
A lot of people think this is a one-point wonder. I disagree. Level this with Wriggle's Lantern and you'll have some insane sustain that very few champs in the solo top meta can easily compete with. This also encourages Olaf to build health, which is why you should always grab a Frozen Mallet or Warmog's Armor on him. Maybe not Sunfire Cape, though, cause Sunfire Cape kinda sucks.
E: Reckless Swing
(Active): Olaf attacks with such force that it deals 100 / 160 / 220 / 280 / 340 true damage to his target and 40 / 64 / 88 / 112 / 136 to himself.
Do you understand what this means? Olaf hits SO HARD THAT HE ACTUALLY HURTS HIMSELF BUT IT'S OKAY BECAUSE HE'S F*CKING OLAF.
When he uses this ability, lightning comes down from the heavens. I think I've figured out why this happens, and why it hurts him. The lightning comes from Odin who, upon seeing Olaf swing with such force, goes "HEY WHOA EASE UP A LITTLE THERE" and strikes Olaf with lightning to weaken his blows. What this means is that THE GODS THEMSELVES ARE HOLDING OLAF BACK.
Eat a ****, Jax.
This is easily one of the best (if not THE best) harassment skills in the solo top meta because no amount of Cloth Armor + pots can prepare you for the motherf*cking lightning. Without a mana cost, it's incredibly spammable and if you level it first you'll have a 340 true damage burst on a 4 second cooldown by level 9. Level 9! Holy f*ck! This is your primary source of damage as a full tank, but it's also really really nice with your DPS too, just to make sure your enemies don't get too cocky thinking they can build armor and avoid your berserker-y wrath.
(Passive): Olaf has 10 / 20 / 30 armor penetration.
(Active): Olaf instantly removes all crowd control effects from himself. He is also immune to disables (including silences and blinds) and reduces incoming damage by 20 / 30 / 40 for 6 seconds.
Yeah, yeah, armor penetration, whoopdee-f*cking-do, what's the big deal?
Wait... free cleanse? Immune to disables? Damage reduction?
Is this man... God?
Or perhaps... a bad motherf*cker?
That's right, ladies and gents, this is what makes Olaf such a bad motherf*cker. Olaf takes no prisoners and gives no f*cks, and when that Blitzcrank comes around thinking he's hot sh*t with his 3 hard CCs Olaf just shakes his head disappointedly at the pathetic display of CC... AND THEN HE F*CKING ROARS WITH GREAT VENGEANCE AND FURIOUS ANGER AS HE BARRELS DOWN MID LANE AND FEEDS THAT KITEY F*CKING ARROW-TELEPORTING ASHE HER OWN GODD*MN INTESTINES.
This ultimate is what makes you such a terror on top lane. So many champs like Riven, Renekton and Sion rely on their CC to keep you under control long enough to tear you a new one, and a smart Olaf can make them overcommit to a kill only to throw down their CC and WAIT WHAT THE HELL SUDDENLY MY ******ED ANGRY STARE STUN DOESN'T WORK ON THIS GUY AND HE JUST TORE THROUGH MY SHIELD WITH LIGHTNING I WISH I HADN'T PICKED SION DEAR GOD THIS CHAMP F*CKING BLOWS and then he's dead and Olaf goes right back to whacking away at minions to build up his health again, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the jungler to add to his killing spree.
This ult is why you get Ghost in every game ever. Overextend, then pop your ult and Ghost. CONGRATULATIONS, YOU NOW KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE UNGANKABLE.
Runes / Masteries
In case you haven't yet realized, I'm not the type to dwell on runes/masteries, because that's pretty heavily in the realm of theorycrafting, which I tend to shy away from.
My masteries are 21-9-0, grabbing the MR, Armor and Regen in Defense exclusively to mitigate a bit of the early game damage I'm gonna take in the process of terrorizing anything foolhardy enough to leave the fog of war. Everything else goes into offense, because Olaf believes the best defense is punching someone in the kidneys before they can throw the first blow. He knows the phrase is "a good offense", but he likes to be specific.
My runes are exclusively focused on early-game tankiness. Again, because I'm going for offense in my masteries and playing really aggressively, I want armor and magic resist to mitigate the damage those pathetic fools will try to exchange with me between rage-driven a*sbeatings. You don't need armor penetration THAT badly because of Ragnarok's passive, but if you think you need more, by all means, take it. Physical damage quints, armor pen reds, cooldown blues or health regen quints also work nicely, especially if you choose to start with a Regrowth Pendant to rush Warmog's Armor. I don't have the IP for lifesteal quints (in the process of buying other ATM), but I have a feeling they'll work really nicely on Olaf.
: GET THIS ALWAYS. Ghost is the single greatest spell you could possibly get on Olaf and should always be grabbed in any situation. Why Ghost and not the clearly-OP-and-overused Flash? Because Olaf's problem is movement speed, and when you're ulting and legging it with five enemies hot on your heels, running really fast covers way more ground than a dinky little Flash. Chasing, fleeing (Olaf calls it baiting), Ghost does it all and does it better.
: Teleport is my favorite summoner spell in the game. The mobility it gives you is absolutely something you should abuse the sh*t out of. It's not just a "get back to lane ultra quick" card, it's a "turn a won teamfight on top into a top-bottom split push for the win" card and a "turn a 2v2 into a 3v2" card and a "get the f*ck out pronto-like" card all in one. Why do you think Twisted Fate teleports so much? Man loves his cards.
: Amazingly good 1v1 skill, the only thing I'd personally recommend besides Teleport. A well-timed Exhaust is absolutely devastating in a teamfight, and every single team should have one of these.
: Good to secure kills, but if you leave them with 10 health, they already know you're biding your time to finish them off later. The psychological warfare is nice to have. Seriously though, if no one on your team has this, get it. It's extremely good, but not ideal on Olaf
: Only get this if you also have Ghost and feel like channeling your inner Kassadin for some stupid reason. No, really. Ghost is better in every way.
: Jungle Olaf guides are <- that way. Lanelaf only here, kiddies.
: A good Heal bait can be both awesome and infuriating to the enemy, but you have lifesteal. There are too many better options to waste a space on this.
: Why push a lane with some 'roided up minion when you can just crush the enemy minions and do the job yourself?
: You know, I heard there was this thing called Ragnarok, it works pretty well on Olaf, better than this even SERIOUSLY DON'T GET THIS YOU IDIOTS.
: Remember when I said Olaf doesn't benefit whatsoever from AP? Yeah, it still applies.
: Olaf laughs at the idea of knowing the enemy's position in advance. Why ruin the fun?
This is where I tell you exactly what items to get to utterly rape with Olaf and where you only ever build those items, right?
I read a Rammus guide on MOBAfire by a guy named Bguggs awhile back that really made me realize the value of being able to assess the enemy team and make my own decisions with items. It's a skill that's absolutely vital when playing tanky champions, because if you build a Force of Nature against a heavy-AD team with a gimped AP carry, you just wasted a ton of money for resistances that will never help you in a fight. It's not as important for AP and AD carries because they all tend to build the same items, but it's still important as hell.
Here's what to look for when choosing items for Olaf.
You want Health. None of these are absolutely your #1 priority because Olaf plays many different ways, but health is probably one of the most important, and it's why every one of my Olafs up top there has a Giant's Belt. Whether you build it into Warmog's Armor or a Frozen Mallet, you need health to fuel your Vicious Strikes and generally make sure you have time to run into that angry hornet's nest that is the enemy team and either get your lifesteal going or start tanking like crazy.
You want Movement Speed. Olaf takes his damn time wherever it goes, and it's gonna screw you over if you're not prepared. Ghost is amazing on him because it gives him the movement speed he so desperately needs, and you'll definitely need more because you can't Ghost forever unless you're Teemo, and f*ck Teemo. Force of Nature for Tanklaf, Phantom Dancer for Glasslaf.
You want AD. Repeat after me: OLAF GAINS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FROM BUILDING AP IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE EVER. If you want damage, build f*cking damage. Wasting money on ugly hats and prissy jewelery will piss Olaf off so much that he will will himself into existence just to make you a bloody smear all over the wall of your choosing.
You want Lifesteal. Wriggle's Lantern will set you up for life if you're going Tanklaf, but if not, you're gonna need some damn lifesteal, and a lot of it. Olaf's passive makes lifesteal an extremely strong option, and if you build crit too, you're set for life.
+ 5 Health Pots: Good start for jungling, good start if you know you're gonna be playing a defensive early game until you build your Wriggle's Lantern. You'll be slow, but if you're being defensive then that's not that big of an issue.
+ 3 Health Pots: If you know you're gonna be an aggressive b*stard, like if you're up against Nasus top, then by all means, be faster and be painful-y-er. Your Wriggle's Lantern will come slower, but you'll be faster through early game, which is a pretty decent tradeoff.
+ Health Pot: Rushing a Warmog's Armor? I don't agree with your tactics, but it can work, and the regen is especially strong if you have regen quints as well. Make sure to play careful if you run this, Warmog's Armor is expensive so you'll be slow and do no damage for a pretty big amount of time.
: If you know that all you need is lifesteal to absolutely wreck your lane, go for it. It might help to get Vicious Strikes a level or two early, too.
: Regrowth Pendant is a better option IMO.
: Good if you're stuck in a 2v1 versus Ashe and Caitlyn and you need to turtle really really hard, but otherwise I wouldn't recommend it because it slows you down and means you'll take forever to make your Wriggle's Lantern, which is bad.
13 Health Pots: Well, Reckless Swing costs a lot of health, and pots are extremely nice early game... I'd have to test this, but I think it's best on Mordekaiser.
: Never ever ever ever assume that having Ragnarok makes you permanently immune to all CC forever. You'll thank me when Ragnarok ends and Tenacity somehow saves your *** with 10 health.
: Best on Glasslaf. They're recommended, but I prefer Swiftness or Merc Treads.
: You are really, really, really, really slow. These will make you less slow. Prioritize them below Mercury's Treads, but never count them out.
: The new Ninja Tabi reduces basic attack damage, which is actually really really nice on Olaf when you're against a Xin Zhao or some other punishing AD champ on top. Worth consideration.
: Good for jungling, perhaps, but you're not jungling, so no.
: The best choice for Veigar, hands down. Except you're not Veigar.
: Spamming Reckless Swing is nice, but you have too many better options.
: It's actually impossible to emphasize how important this item is, so let me quote a dude named Duff who made it kind of clear: "JUST get through the early game, and get your gold to get Wriggle's Lantern. Once you have Wriggle's Lantern, snowball into end game and win for free. I haven't found ANYTHING that beats me badly in lane once I have Wriggle's Lantern, only things that go even with me. You can be getting trashed in the early game, and come back with Wriggle's Lantern and suddenly Reckless Swing your way to victory in no time. It's that serious." Thank you, Duff. Thank you.
: Builds into Warmog's Armor and Frozen Mallet, both of which are extremely good on Olaf. Get this always, unless you plan on building it into a Rylai's Crystal Scepter, you prancy little sh*t.
Catalyst the Protector: Good for early game survivability on Tanklaf, but otherwise it's not recommended because the only thing you can build it into is a Banshee's Veil. (Rod of what?)
: Your best choice for an early game gold-per-10 item.
: Your second-best choice for an early game gold-per-10 item.
Philosopher's Stone: Your third-best choice for an early game gold-per-10 item.
Kage's Lucky Pick: I don't care if you're donating the gold to charity, DON'T GET THIS.
: Good for extra early game lifesteal, but only get it on Glasslaf. You won't do enough AA damage as Tanklaf for the lifesteal to matter.
: Get this early game and only early game, because the stats fall off hard late game. Best if you're Tanklaf, but if you need a little bit of tanky before you build killy, this works well on Glasslaf, too.
: Ideal if you're jungling, but you're not. I'd say get the Vamp Scepter before you build these, it's the more important part of your Wriggle's Lantern after all.
: Extremely important to Glasslaf, but if you need more damage as Tanklaf and you've already got enough health and resistance that not even the fountain turret can kill you, IE is a good option for a sixth item.
: More lifesteal plus more damage? Sign me the f*ck up. It's no problem that it has to be farmed because you farm like Old MacDonald after he's snorted a mountain of crack.
: Sh*t, this is good all the time. Atma's is what makes Tonky Derps the current meta, any damagey champ with Fratma's or Atmogs becomes ******edly strong and hard to kill. Best with Warmog's Armor to give Tanklaf a bit of damage, but it's also great on Glasslaf to make him a little less glassy but still plenty cannony.
: Great if you're building Glasslaf and you need health but also damage, perfect if your team needs extra CC and a perma-red buff is making you all worked up in the naughty parts, you naughty boy, you.
: Extremely important on Tanklaf. You can farm it pretty easily, but still get it as one of your first few items, because it's too nice to leave in the closet for long. Roots are in season this year.
: HUEHUEHUE ALWAYS KILL NEVER DIE. Perfect for Tanklafs that need to die harder than John McClane in steel-toed boots, but it's also really nice if your Glasslaf needs just enough resistance to go from "annoying" to "HOLY MOTHER OF GOD WHEN DID THE GAME GO GRAYSCALE PERMANENTLY?!"
: The only AP item I will ever recommend because the AP doesn't matter for **** anyways. Zeal's speed, Phage's kinda-slow and Sheen's bonus-damage-after-you-already-just-shoved-lightning-down-their-throats? This right here is a good buy, gentlemen.
: An all-around solid item, it gives you everything Glasslaf needs and nothing he doesn't.
: More armor pen? Yes please.
: You need one of these if you're Glasslaf. The movement speed alone is enough of a reason to get it, but PD + IE is such a strong combo that it's practically core.
: Regen, armor, health and an AOE slow? On Tanklaf? Thank you, sir, may I have another?
: Best if you already have a sh*t ton of attack speed and they're building armor and you already have the other two BF items. This should be a late game choice.
: Also good against a team with 4 ADs and an underappreciated Malzahar. This will make your deeps deepsier by letting you unleash the lightning more often, and the mana is a nice thing to have, too.
Zeke's Herald: This item just became awesome for Olaf. Health, lifesteal, attack speed and cooldown reduction? The numbers aren't high, but for all the stuff it gives you, it seems to be a "little-bit-of-everything" item like Aegis of the Legion. I haven't had the chance to try it yet, but I have a feeling it's gonna be really strong for Olaf.
Extremely Situational/Unviable Items
: Personally, I don't like this item. It's defensive, but it gives you as much armor as Atma's Impaler and less health than Frozen Mallet, and the aura doesn't do as much as it seems to unless you're Garen or Evelynn and it's back when the aura was stackable. You'd be better off spending a slot on Warmog's Armor or Frozen Mallet, but if you're building Glasslaf and need a little bit of health and armor, I guess it could work.
: Best against a team chock-full of squishy, twiggy AD carries that are just raping your whole team with their crack-fueled instacrits, but Guardian Angel would probably work better.
: This will be handy one game in a million. Don't even consider it unless you're 5 and 1 five minutes into the game.
: Always remember to never ever ever ever ever get the stack items regularly ever. This makes you play defensive, which is not good. Never be afraid of death, unless you wanna take over for the lame-*** Chronokeeper.
: This is for that ugly dog Warwick, or if you're against 5 tanky Cho'Gaths as Glasslaf. Otherwise, no.
: Worth it only as a defensive item on Glasslaf. Don't get this frequently.
: This is the single greatest item you could ever possibly get on HAHAHA JUST KIDDING IF YOU GET THIS ITEM THEN THE TERRORISTS WIN.
: Good, but Tenacity should be built before this. I don't know if this pops while Ragnarok is active, but if it does, this is much less worth it than I think it might be.
: It's on a shorter cooldown than your ult, which is the only thing that makes it worth getting.
Game Phase Guide
OLAF IS BEST IN RANKED AS A COUNTERPICK. CC HEAVY TEAM? PICK OLAF AND LAUGH HEARTILY AT THEIR PATHETIC ATTEMPTS TO STOP YOU FROM DOING WHATEVER YOU WANT.
OLAF GOES WHERE HE PLEASES, MOTHERF*CKER. NOT EVEN IGNITE CAN SHUT HIM DOWN.
First things first, understand one thing about Olaf: you will always be aggressive, or you will never be good with Olaf. If you have to play defensive, play defensive-aggressive. If you have to play passive, be passive-aggressive. That doesn't mean leaving angry notes or conveniently "forgetting" to tell your roommate you're out of TP until after he's taking a dump, it means last hitting with Undertow and occasionally shoving some motherf*cking lightning in someone's face to keep them from thinking you're anything but docile.
When you walk up to top lane, it's yours. Get that in your head from the beginning, because if you have that mindset, nothing will take the top lane from you. Remember to ward, because you are going to f*cking push your lane and you are going to harass the sh*t out of that ugly dog Nasus so he thinks twice before pressing Q, else he get a faceful of Odin's electric *****. If their jungler is smart, he'll gank you. If he's really smart, he'll gank you well. This is fine. This is what you want. This is why you get Ghost. You want that Leed Singa spending all his time topside trying to cover for the Riven with a serious case of missing limbs so your bot lane can push to the turret fearlessly, because Olaf is a team player only accidentally.
When things jump out at you and shout "ooga booga booga", your first instinct should be to cram their faces full of pain and THEN consider turning and burning. Olaf's passive combined with lifesteal makes him shockingly strong at extremely low health as long as you don't get ignited/exhausted, and it can turn a gank into a double kill. Why? Because grass grows, birds fly, sun shines, and brother, you hurt people.
...I was serious about the "ooga booga booga" thing, by the way. Watch this video, pretend Olaf is the clearly-not-maladjusted African American youth and pretend the guy with the mask is some uppity Nocturne popping his ult.
When you get Wriggle's Lantern, you win the lane. For free. With enough experience, nothing can compete with Olaf's insane sustain. Pop Vicious Strikes and autoattack some minions and in no time you'll have a huge chunk of health back, just waiting to be spent tearing a new a*shole in that pathetic excuse for a forum rager, Tryndamere.
The hardest thing to master about Olaf (and the reason I was absolutely horrible at him for the longest time) is knowing when to fight and when to run. Olaf is amazing in 1v1 situations and can even turn a 2v1 in his favor, but he's not invincible. My biggest mistake as a beginning Olaf player was thinking that his passive made him godly at low health, so I strove to never go above 50% health ever. That works in the jungle- it's what makes Olaf insanely strong in the jungle- but it's not so good in the lane. If you run around with low health, you will be targeted, because low health bars in League of Legends are a bigger attractor of creeps and people with bad intentions than a picture of Megan Fox's rack. The best way to learn what Olaf can and can't handle is to just play Olaf. It's hard at first, but before long you develop an intuition about situations and you can play aggressively- but carefully- which is exactly how Olaf should be played.
So you absolutely dominated your lane, left that pathetic Nasus crying like a baby and made your enemy's jungler fear getting anywhere near the Olaf lane ("top" is the phrase used by scrubs that don't have the ground-dragging brass balls to name their lane after themselves). Great. Stay right there. Continue your lane crushing spree. You're good in teamfights, but you're amazing in minion waves, so continue to farm up a Warmog's Armor or whatever the hell you're building and keep a close eye on your minimap. You want to be able to skedaddle off to whatever lane needs help at a moment's notice, and that's where Teleport becomes so absolutely vital.
If other lanes really need help, it's time to work some Norse magic, which is only called magic because of the way Olaf hits things so hard that the space-time continuum bends around his axes to actually cushion the blow, or else everything his axes touched would explode in nuclear fire. Come into bot lane and teach that uppity Twihard Vayne what real f*cking true damage looks like. It's not about girly little rings and prancy-a*s tumbling. It's about taking off the kid gloves and f*cking HURTING PEOPLE. If you do this, keep a close eye on top as well, and be ready to head back up there to remind the solo top that that farm has to be EARNED, not collected.
Be careful about your health, but be ready to take advantage of it. If you barely win a teamfight with extremely low health and you know nobody's gonna be coming until they can get a new limb to replace the one you hacked off in three places, GO TO THE NEAREST TOWER AND F*CKING RAPE IT. Your passive gives you absolutely incredible attack speed, combine that with your Vicious Strikes and you can absolutely annihilate a tower in a matter of seconds.
If you're gonna push lanes, BE CAREFUL AND PLAY SMART. Ragnarok + Ghost makes you extremely strong at this, but if you overextend when the enemy team is mostly MIA, one of two things will happen. Either they'll send one guy and you'll kill him or run off fine, or they'll send THE ENTIRE F*CKING TEAM and kill you outright because the damage reduction portion of Olaf's ult isn't that great. If you're gonna overextend a push, do it when you know where the enemy is, and if you can't do that, ward the ever-loving **** out of every single possible way to get into that lane so you can turn and burn when trouble rears its ugly, calloused head. You're backdoory like Master Yi, but your turn-and-burn skill isn't nearly as strong as his. BE MANLY BUT BE CAREFUL.
This is where massive teamfights happen, and sadly, this is where Olaf's true damage can kind of fall off now that all the smart tanks will have built health so that 340 true damage doesn't mean as much in the long run. Thankfully you still melt carries. You always melt carries. You can't help it, they're like little s'mores just waiting to be cooked over the bonfire of the bodies of their teammates that you piled up in the process of getting to them. If you're building DPS Olaf, that's not a big deal, because your true damage is just to keep them from considering wasting money on armor, while your real damage comes from just whacking the sh*t out of stuff. Simple, yes, but sometimes the simplest pleasures are the best. If you're building tank Olaf, well... have fun kind of CCing stuff. If you haven't guessed, I strongly prefer DPS Olaf.
Late game Olaf can kind of be outshined by other melee DPSers because of his lack of a gapcloser, but none can compare to his insane true damage burst combined with attack speed, lifesteal and/or sh*ttons of health. And that's fine. Olaf doesn't dash in out of the blue to get the jump on people. Olaf doesn't give a f*ck. He chucks his axe in, wades through a million CCs to pick it up because it's a prized heirloom from his battle with the great ***kickius and once he has it he turns around and unleashes the motherf*cking pain.
He unleashes the pain and he laughs a warrior's laugh.
The 1v1 nature of the solo top meta means you're pretty much guaranteed to encounter "counters" and "counterpicks" and all those pro terms people throw around. For the most part, Olaf is incredibly strong on solo top, but some champs have a kit that just plain outdoes his and sometimes he meets someone that just gets crushed before you even consider buying Wriggle's Lantern.
I'M GOING BY EXPERIENCE WITH THESE CHAMPS MEANING THIS IS AN EXTREMELY INCOMPLETE LIST, I WILL ADD MATCHUPS AS I ENCOUNTER THEM.
: You know what this motherf*cker likes to do? Chuck snowballs every 4 seconds. You know what this game isn't? A godd*mn snowball fight. His Ice Blast outranges your Reckless Swing and outslows your Undertow and he chucks them at you every time he thinks you might be getting a hot-headed (which is always because you're f*cking Olaf), so good luck getting any harassment/farming done with Nunu around. Ever. I speak from experience.
: Sion is my least favorite champ. I hate him. Not because he's OP or UP or because he's cheap, I just absolutely hate him. Even more so as Olaf. If he builds AD, Sion will out-lifesteal you easily and make 1v1ing him near-impossible even with your ult and Exhaust. If he goes AP his shield will more than cover your Reckless Swing damage and he'll spam his stupid stun to death because he's a gigantic b*stard and I f*cking hate that he dares use the same weapon as me.
: Seriously, f*ck Teemo. Not only is he just generally an annoying, aggravating, fuzzy little sack of sh*t, sometimes he goes top. His mushrooms slow you, do damage over time and make you hallucinate, and not the kind where you go to the land of heavy metal and t*tties. That's cat piss. Also, his Blinding Dart, in addition to doing damage as well, keeps you from hitting minions, which completely cuts off your healing.
: While being put against Wukong won't immediately lose you the lane, he's worth noting because he's REALLY F*CKING ANNOYING to lane against. A good Wukong will Decoy and THEN ult when he's cloaked, which means you'll still take the knockup regardless of whether or not you ult. If you're good and you can spot a Decoy and save your harassment for when the real monkey appears to fling sh*t at you, you should be okay, but stay on your toes.
: This tweaky Asian son of a b*tch is one of those champs that isn't OP, but his kit works in just such a way that he gets 1 kill and spirals totally out of control to the point where he does more damage in a second than a Veigar that's been farming Baleful Strike since the term "Event Horizon" was created. It always comes down to a stalemate between Xin Zhao and Olaf once you have Wriggle's Lantern and Ragnarok, but play careful before you have Wriggle's and your ult because Xin's dash is deadly and always builds a million attack speed and snorts a mountain of coke so he'll f*ck your sh*t up if you're not careful. This would be a good lane to be "passively aggressive" against if you can help it.
Olaf's Gold-Filled Pinatas
: HAHAHAHA YOU WANNA 1V1? LET'S 1V1 POPPY, MAYBE YOU'LL AMUSE ME. Ragnarok means she just gets to pick where she wants to die, and all that bonus resistance and damage reduction just gives you something to laugh at before you smash right through it with your true damage. And seriously? A 1v1 ult? Against Olaf? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA THE PEOPLE AT RIOT REALLY DO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR AFTER ALL.
: I've been on both sides of the Olaf VS Rammus struggle, and it never ends well for our poor armordillo friend. Sure, he'll Puncturing Taunt you every time he f*cking blinks, but early game you WANT to hit this guy. He's like a big target just waiting to be melted. A smart Rammus will stack health against you, but that means every time his Defensive Ball Curl isn't up, he's easy as hell to kill. Win-win.
: I feel bad for Udyr. He's completely melee-focused, so you outrange him hard, he has no gap-closer, so there's no way he can really harass you without being seriously punished for it, and he's just generally kind of pathetic in lane. Then he pops that annoying f*cking Turtle Stance and I just wanna bash his f*cking head in.
: MUNDO GOES WHERE OLAF PLEASES, MOTHERF*CKER. Mundo exists to throw Infected Cleavers and permaslow you, so stay behind your minions, chuck Undertows at him and whack him with some true damage if he starts feeling feisty. Again, he's another champ with no gapcloser, and basically every Mundo player rushes a Warmog's Armor, so you'll crush him with lifesteal early game.
Olaf's Best Friends
: Olaf is slow, and Rammus is not. Olaf makes people run away, and Rammus makes them turn around and punch the Armordillo in the face. With Olaf's ***kickitude and Rammus' "come at me bro" approach to tanking, the two are truly devastating as a combo.
: HAHAHAHAHAHA AXES AND CLEAVERS FOREVER HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
I like to record videos of me and my friends play, so when I record games of me playing Olaf, I'll put them up here. I feel like you learn more from a full game than you do from reading a wall of text, and it helps that I'm not the perfect player, either, so you can see mistakes that Olaf players make and learn from them so you don't make those mistakes yourself.
I also like bumping my YouTube channel. It's http://www.youtube.com/user/bezerika14 , and me and my friends play League of Legends, Left 4 Dead 2, Borderlands and whatever the f*ck else we feel like playing. SUBSCRIBE AND I'LL LOVE YOU FOREVER.
Proof of the strength of Wriggle's. I have a bad early game because I'm stupid and I get Wriggle's Lantern and get a damn double kill. That's lifesteal, bro.
If you're reading to learn something, skip this part.
Olaf is the Pentakill drummer.
Meet Amon Amarth.
They belong to a genre called Viking Death Metal. It's both surprisingly popular and unbelievably kickass. If Karthus is Death Metal, Yorick is Black Metal, Mordekaiser is classic Heavy Metal and Sona is some kind of Cradle of Filth **** (I say "****" not as an insult, but as a term of endearment), then Olaf is the "go to war and bite their f*cking throats out" Viking Death Metal.
He will be dressed in black or whatever the f*ck he wants and will carry two big motherf*cking hammers because real men hammer the sh*t out of the drums. He fits the team because Olaf builds into a real motherf*cker of a glass cannon AD carry if he wants to, and you bet your *** he wants to.
Metal is about aggression, anger and hate. Tryndamere is a tantrum-y f*ggot nobody likes, so the only other embodiment of aggression, anger and hate is Olaf the motherf*cking Crushinator.
I know there are other suggestions, and here I will answer them.
Trundle: "He's got a big stick you guys, turn it into a drumstick and he's perfect!" He's perfect if you're doing a damn cover of "Never Gonna Give You Up," but not if you're doing a cover of "The Trooper". He's not metal.
Urgot: "The team needs a ranged AD carry, and Urgot needs a skin! He could shoot drumsticks and actually have a new skin so we'll stop b*tching!" Sewn-together corpses are extremely metal (Cannibal Corpse has made an entire band around corpses and the raping of said corpses) but the idea of shooting drumsticks is f*cking ******ed as a concept.
Rumble: "All you have to do is make him ride a walking drum kit! It's the perfect skin for Rumble!" When was the last time you saw an ugly, dirty rat nobody likes in metal? Oh right, on a Cannibal Corpse cover, eating the maggots and entrails from a dead woman's naughty bits. Rumble is not metal, go ruin the Power Ranger villains- I mean Crimson Elite.
Katarina: "She wears spikes and poofs around like a super kawaii soul reaper! Make her use drumsticks!" You'll see this "take champion, add drumsticks" concept a lot. Drumsticks are not battleworthy weapons. Why does Mordekaiser have a guitar? Because he es numero uno, he always kill never die and IT'S A GODD*MN AXE. Why does Yorick have a bass? IT'S ALSO A SHOVEL. Why does Karthus have a mic? HE'S THE GODD*MN DEATHSINGER. Why does Sona have a metal verson of her megaharp? SHE'S NOT METAL ENOUGH TO USE A GUITAR FLIPPED SIDEWAYS. It has to fit the character as well as the band. This is why every single skin concept doesn't get made, because a lot of them are ******ED.
Gangplank: "You say it's because of Viking Death Metal. What about Pirate Speed Metal?"
Holy sh*t. I just got called out.
Yes, pirate speed metal is F*CKING AWESOME and you will hear me playing Alestorm (or Swashbuckle when I get some of their sh*t) when I play Gangplank, Miss Fortune or Pirate Swain/ Fiddlesticks, but Olaf is better.
IF I SEE ONE MORE "KATARINA IS PENTAKILL DRUMMER" THREAD ON THE LOL FORUMS I WILL STRANGLE A BABY.
A REALLY CUTE ONE TOO.
Oh yeah, the only weird champ I'd possibly accept as another Pentakill member is Vandal Brand because HOLY MOTHER OF SH*TWAFFLES THIS IS THE COOLEST SPLASH ART EVER.
IT'S LIKE LUCIFER STOPPED F*CKING AROUND AND JUST DECIDED THAT BRAND WOULD BE HIS EMISSARY OF INCREDIBLY METAL-RELATED AWESOMENESS HOLY GOD IF THEY RENAMED VANDAL BRAND TO PENTAKILL BRAND I'D SPEND MONTHS LEARNING TO PLAY THIS CRUEL B*STARD.
Question & Answer
So you lost. Let's analyze the things you should have done to figure out why you surrendered at 20 instead of turning every bit of impassible terrain into a parking lot as you steamrolled your way from one end of the map to the other.
Q: Did you jungle?
A: Hell no, I went top. If by "went top" you mean "dominated it so hard that the enemy team petitioned Riot to have Olaf bannable again at 10 minutes into the game".
Q: Did you let the enemy jungler gank your carries?
A: He spent so much time on top lane that we installed a revolving door for him in the river bush. Of course, he only showed up for about 5 second before his gank turned into another opportunity for me to show him how different things look when all the color is gone from your screen. It's like the option to go black and white in L.A. Noire, except you're not sobbing furiously when you turn it on in that game.
Q: Did you play aggressively, but carefully?
A: I know Olaf's strengths and weaknesses, but I made sure my enemies only saw Olaf's strengths.
Q: How did you help out in teamfights?
A: Once our tank initiated I ran in screaming "bloody murder" and/or "IMUNNA RAPE YOU ALL" and promptly got my fifth pentakill of the game.
Q: Did you farm your Baleful Strike?
A: Ye- OH WAIT HAHAHAHAHAHA GOOD ONE FOR A SECOND THERE YOU ALMOST TRICKED ME INTO THINKING I WAS WEAK.
Q: How awesome were you?
A: Baron died when I walked by because I was so awesome that he mistook me for release day Lee Sin.
Q: Did you buy a Wriggle's Lantern?
A: I bought it and then renamed it to "Olaf's Lantern", because Wriggle was a b*tch anyway.
Q: How metal are you?
A: I listen to Psychostick in the shower.
If you've gotten this far, congrats! It's probably your team's fault! Time to blame the jungler!*
*Don't actually blame the jungler unless it was their fault because they jungled Karma because they're Dyrus. And in that case, you're probably Janna and you should feel bad.
That's the end of my Olaf guide. This one probably wasn't as technical as my Veigar guide, but that's because Olaf doesn't have anything that's as absolutely vital to him as farming Baleful strike is to Veigar. You just kinda run in and bash everything, and that's what makes him both simpler and more difficult to play than Veigar. I definitely had more fun writing this one, because Olaf is good at making you feel like a manly Viking badass and roaring at your screen as you get a triple kill in a 3v1.
My ingame name is FreestyleKneepad (obviously), and I can also be contacted on Steam at FreestyleKneepad. Me and my friends enjoy playing League of Legends to have fun and I enjoy recording it and putting it on YouTube. We also play Left 4 Dead 2, and are in the process of playing Borderlands and a couple other side projects, so please subscribe to my channel (bezerika14) if that sort of thing interests you.
I'd like to extend my thanks to Bguggs, Duff and Condon. I'd like to thank Bguggs for teaching me to treat these sites as places to find "guides", not "builds", and for really affecting how I play the game in general, and Condon for generally being an obscene, hilarious motherf*cker and teaching me that you don't need to be completely analytical about a guide to give good information, as well as showing me the value of cracking a joke once in a damn while on one of these guides. I'd also like to thank Duff for drilling "buy Wriggle's" into my head and turning me from a horrifically bad Olaf player to a pretty good one, if I do say so myself.
TL;DR: F*ck Sion.
Change Log / Patch Notes
1/21/2012: Published guide.
2/5/2012: Removed Stark's Fervor, added Zeke's Herald.
Most Recent Olaf Patch
Damage increased to 80-260 from 50-210.
Scaling changed to +1.0 bonus AD from +0.5 total AD.
Base cooldown reduced to 8 seconds from 10.
Cooldown reduction from picking up the axe reduced to 4.5 seconds from 6.
Ragnarok now provides 30/45/60 Armor and Magic Resist instead of 20/30/40 flat damage reduction.
Movement Speed increased to 325 from 320.
What this means is that a) Undertow comes back quicker and you're not losing as much time by not picking it up, and it does a good bit more damage now, b) Ragnarok is affected by armor/magic pen separately now, and c) Olaf scales a bit better with move speed, making his slowness a bit smaller of an issue. Overall a strong buff for Olaf, no matter what the idiots in the forums think.