Warwick Build Guide by SpawnOfHell
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Warwick is one of my favorite champions to play at top lane. He is an amazing laner with incredible damage and sustain, and transitions really well into late-game as one of the tankiest champions in the game with respectable damage output.
Why Lanewick? I personally prefer laning Warwick to jungling simply due to the fact that top lane Warwick gets the opportunity to farm freely in order to build the more expensive items which junglers don't usually get the farm necessary to afford such as Madred's Bloodrazor. With the farm necessary for a full build, Warwick can transition into the late-game as an extremely tanky menace capable of locking down and destroying squishy carries.
Warwick is currently very effective in both lane and jungle, however I prefer lane Warwick and this is a guide explaining my playstyle for Lanewick. There are many excellent Jungle Warwick guides on this site and I recommend them to those wishing to play Junglewick instead.
+ Infinite lane sustain
+ Transitions really well into late game
+ Tanky as hell
+ High DPS output
+ 1.8 second suppress
+ AoE attack speed steroid which assists greatly at pushing
+ Can solo baron mid-game
+ One of the best dances in the game
- Can be harassed easily in lane
- Completely melee
- Screwed over by Ignite
- Weak against CC
- Ultimate is easily interrupted
- No real killing power pre-6
- Quicksilver Sash makes his ultimate useless
- Can't carry a bad team
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
These may seem like odd runes to have, but trust me: they work. Warwick does a significant amount of magical damage with this build through his passive, Hungering Strike, Madred's Bloodrazor and Wit's End. These runes guarantee a larger damage output in the late game than other runes do.
greater seal of replenishment
Warwick is a very mana-hungry champion. Aside from Frozen Heart and the situational Chalice of Harmony, I do not build any items which provide mana or mana regen. This results in a painful laning phase as you generally want enough mana to use both Hungering Strike and your ultimate. Thanks to Warwick's sustain in lane, he isn't as reliant on armor seals to resist harass as other champions, making these runes a strong choice.
These runes are some of the best of their type. Unless you're laning against an AP top lane, they are always the best option. The reason magic resist is important on Warwick is because of his weakness to heavy burst damage which most AP carries specialize in. Having 24 magic resist at level 18 is a high bonus, especially since you don't pay anything for it.
I like these runes on champions like Warwick who are entirely melee and can't lock down enemies for extended periods. Warwick really has no way of sticking to a target after his ultimate, therefore having movement speed really helps him. These aren't absolutely necessary, and can be replaced with whatever runes you prefer.
It's not a mastery setup most people are used to, but I just don't think it's worth it to maximize the offense tree on Warwick. I prefer to spend those points on the resistances in defense. Ideally, you don't want to touch the points in the utility tree due to Warwick's mana issues.
Warwick is pretty versatile when it comes to summoner spells. It's best for you to have one offensive spell and one form of escape, but thanks to Warwick's survivability late game it isn't always necessary.
Flash is that spell which everyone loves and hates. Even after its nerf it is still the most popular and most used spell in the game and for good reason. As Warwick, this is a way to close the gap between yourself and your enemy or escape bad situations. I have also used this spell many times to surprise enemies by Flashing over a wall and using my ultimate before they can react.
Tip: One thing that perhaps not many know is that Warwick can use Flash to cancel his ultimate prematurely. You just need to try to use Flash while you are ulting. This will break the ulti and your Flash will still be up. This can also be an annoyance if you accidentally try to Flash while you almost kill someone and end up missing a kill.
Early lane dominance is the strength of having this spell. If you don't plan on winning your lane early, don't take Ignite at all. I can not tell you how many times I have won my lane simply by getting the first kill then snowballing to victory, and almost all these times Ignite is the reason I have won. It is very easy to kill your lane opponent at level 6 simply by doing an Infinite Duress -> Ignite -> Hungering Strike combo which is frequently first blood.
A very popular spell for solo top champions as it allows you to have global presence whenever it is up. You can be farming top lane then instantly teleporting to dragon at the start of a teamfight, or gank another lane and teleport back to prevent pushing. I prefer this spell for passive laning but do not recommend it for solo queue as it requires a good amount of co-ordination and teamwork for full effectiveness.
In simple math; Warwick + Exhaust = King of 1v1. I'm serious. Having Exhaust basically makes you impossible to duel for anyone of equal levels and itemization unless they are also rolling it. This is a much better spell for lategame as it allows you to pretty much rape enemy carries without effort simply by jumping on them with your ultimate and Exhausting them just as it ends. It can also be used defensively if you are being chased by a single enemy. Definitely a great spell to have if you like it, however I do prefer the early strength which Ignite gives me in lane.
A situational spell, however I recommend it for two reasons. Crowd control and Ignite. While they are your best friends to have on your side, they are also your worst enemies. A large amount of Warwick's tankiness hinges on his ability to lifesteal large amounts of health through his autoattacks and his Hungering Strike. If you are unable to do this, you are dead. Therefore, against certain team compositions you should consider taking Cleanse, especially if you have a feeling that you will face the danger of being CC-locked in teamfights or have your healing cut in half from all sources.
Excellent passive which provides Warwick with a good amount free damage and sustain at all stages. It is this passive which allows Warwick to be such a strong top laner thanks to the sustain it provide. It is also because of this passive that we stack attack speed on Warwick to increase his damage and tankiness.
A short-ranged nuke which deals a good amount of damage later on in the game and heals for a huge amount. With this ability you can sustain yourself in lane and do a nice amount of harass. Thanks to the percentage-based damage this ability can deal, it can do good damage to targets even without building any ability power.
A nice team steroid which can assist greatly in pushing down towers, getting Baron or just give yourself an extra boost during a duel. Unlike Junglewick we don't place as much emphasis on this ability and rarely use it in lane unless we want to push the lane or to hurt the enemy laner. In the late game this ability can be pretty much spammed as with cooldown reduction the cooldown of the ability is close to the duration, which means that Warwick doesn't need to build as much attack speed as other champions.
An unsung hero of a skill. Blood Scent is among my favorite abilities in the game for many reasons. By maxing this second, we essentially gain a free Ghost which makes Warwick impossible to escape in a 1v1. I also can not count the number of times this ability has activated on a low health jungler on the enemy team and allowed for an easy invasion. This ability can also help you escape from a losing situation so long as you can injure an enemy enough for it to activate.
Oh how I love this ultimate. Infinite Duress is one of the most powerful ultimates in the game as long as it is used correctly. With this ability you can win almost all duels and also catch targets out of position. It is also such a great ability for initiating a gank. If you know when to correctly use this ultimate, you will certainly get a kill 99% of the time.
I like this start for Warwick in most situations. Since Warwick is an all melee champion, it's important for him to have the means to get close to his opponent if he wishes to harass. Pre-level 6 Warwick is easy to kite and so having the extra movement speed makes it easier for him to retaliate in lane. If the enemy jungler is a strong early ganker, this start is pretty much a must.
If you suspect that you will lose in trading damage when in lane, or if you are going to face heavy ranged harass, it is good to do this start for more sustain and a faster Wriggle's Lantern. A ward can be exchanged for some of the potions if you fear early ganks.
You should build a Giant's Belt sometime during the laning phase. This will be built into a Frozen Mallet or Sunfire Cape depending on whether you plan on farming or teamfighting later on.
For the rest, I'll go through three different build paths, depending on your situation in lane.
I'm winning my lane hard
Skip your Wriggle's Lantern and go straight into building damage. This is the least likely scenario to occur, but if it does you should build into heavier DPS to snowball harder into late game as a secondary carry.
My lane is even
Build items to help you with your farming and then invest into some damage once you have built up a steady income. This build path promotes more passive play where the goal is to build your durability or damage items for a stronger late game.
Help! I'm getting my *** kicked!
Build items to help yourself sustain in lane and try to play passive and farm. You will likely be losing out on a lot of CS, so the GP5 will ensure that you won't be completely gimped in terms of gold later on.
Build any of these boots depending on what you need. Mercury's Treads are for heavy crowd control teams and/or heavy magic damage teams, Ninja Tabi are for heavy physical damage teams or a fed AD carry, and Berserker's Greaves are for when you are ahead and want to boost your DPS.
There are several ways to build Warwick, but it is usually a good idea to have a build with a balance of damage and tankiness
Generally I move on to this item after building my core items. It provides very good stats and an aura which works well on Warwick due to his tendency to be in the middle of the fight.
Only build this if you had bought a Heart of Gold earlier, and you're not planning on buying Frozen heart. It is useful on Warwick for the same reasons FH is. I just prefer the extra armor and cooldown reduction of FH to the health and less permanent debuffs this item provides.
Refer to ' Cleanse' in the 'Summoner Spells' section. This item is bought for the same reasons, in case you find more Ignites on the enemy team than you expected or if you find yourself being the target of enemy CC in fights.
Items to buy against fed enemy AP carries. Banshee's Veil is particularly nice to have as it prevents the use of one CC effect which could screw up your ultimate. Force of Nature gives huge magic resist, health regeneration and some movement speed and is another viable item to build.
Even when going DPS, it's beneficial for the items Warwick builds to still have a tanky component. Frozen Mallet coupled together with Blood Scent guarantees that a target you get a chance to hit will not get away. Ever.
Only get this item if your team deals mostly magical damage. This makes Malady a strong investment as you will boost not only your own but the DPS of your teammates as well.
Refer to above, except replace 'magical' with 'physical'.
A good item to get if you're really fed and have cash to burn. I value this item over The Bloodthirster on Warwick as it provides more tankiness, gives a bit of extra burst and doesn't require stacking.
End Game Items
This is the point where you should be replacing your Spirit Visage, Wriggle's Lantern and Sunfire Cape (if you bought them) with stronger items. You can buy any of the items you didn't get during the mid game from the above section. There are only two other items in particular which you should build if the game goes on for a long time.
If the game goes on long enough, it's time to bring in the pain and build this bad boy. One of the best items for Warwick, this item sends his DPS through the roof and makes him an effective anti-tank with heavy percentage-based damage on his autoattacks and Hungering Strike.
Another item which works wonders on Warwick. Your opponents already have a hard time killing you, and now even if they do, you've got a second life and chances are they've blown their abilities just trying to kill you the first time. Keep in mind buying this item will encourage the opposing team to focus your squishier teammates even harder, so it's not always the best item to build.
Warwick is a strong laner simply for his ability to sit in lane and farm indefinitely. However, he has no real ability to kill the enemy laner either due to low early damage and lack of CC. You should only be trying to harass at around level 5 and going for the kill once you get your ultimate. Do not use Hungering Strike every time it's up, as you will run out of mana really quickly.
One of the things Warwick is most hated for is his ability to pretty much secure a kill with Infinite Duress during a gank. When your jungler comes in for a gank, it may seem like a good idea to use your ultimate to initiate, however since using your ult puts you behind your enemy it is actually more beneficial to get your jungler to scare the enemy laner into using his escapes and then using your ultimate to close the gap. Due to the power of Warwick's ultimate, you will almost always get a kill this way.
If you're being dominated in lane, you should buy cheap items which provide sustain such as Spirit Visage, Chalice of Harmony and Wriggle's Lantern. Regardless of what the status of the lane is, you should always try to farm as much as possible. Once you buy Sunfire Cape it is very easy for Warwick to farm entire waves of creeps quickly.
"Buy a ward, save a life"
Get these. Seriously, get them. As a top laner you will be ganked frequently, and Warwick has no real escape if neither the jungler or the laner are below 50% health. If you don't buy wards, you will be ganked over and over again as well as being unable to push at all as you will overextend without having any warning on where the enemy jungler is. 75 gold is a worthwhile trade for a life (or two!)