Olaf Build Guide by Azar218

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Azar218

The Graggy Icer: In-Depth Olaf [Top and Jungle]

Azar218 Last updated on May 4, 2013
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Team 1

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


Utility: 0

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Hello, and welcome to another guide, this time for Olaf, the Berserker. I felt like playing Olaf again, and I was looking at guides on MOBAFire, and most of the top guides are for Season 2. I figured that seeing old mastery trees and Heart of Gold (may it live 1000 years) was getting tiresome, so I decided to make my own guide for Season 3. As with my usual disclaimer, I am not the best Olaf nor am I the final judge on what's amazing on him and what isn't, but I feel like I can play him to effect and itemize him appropriately. So without further adieu, Olaf, the Berserker.

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Pros / Cons

  • Deals true damage.
  • Scales well with health.
  • Immune to CC with ult.
  • Passive attack speed.
  • Great early and late game.
  • No CC of his own.
  • Has to build a lot of health.
  • Can run out of mana easily.
  • Weak mid game.
  • Will die a lot.

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Mastery Explanations

I ran a standard 9/21/0, taking the Defense Tree over Offense. My main reason: Olaf needs to be as tanky as he can be, and while there are some nice buffs in Offense, the Defense Tree keeps Olaf alive in the early game, while the Offense Tree only increases damage, and Olaf's damage is great throughout the game. 21/9/0 is still viable, but far more risky.
Offense Tree (Jungling Masteries)

Tier 1 - 4 points go into Fury for an easier wave clearing. 2 go into Butcher for the same reason.

Tier 2 - 4 points go into Deadliness for extra AD; better scaling and farming. 1 goes into Destruction to increase Olaf's already-potent pushing.

Tier 3 - 3 points into Havoc for increase damage all around, 1 into Weapon Expertise for now-sorely needed passive armor penetration.

Tier 4 - Pumps a little more AD into Olaf, increases damage on Undertow.

Tier 5 - The flat penetration is nice, but it more leads into Executioner than anything else.

Tier 6 - More damage to low-health targets and minions from all sources.

Defense Tree (Top Masteries)

Tier 1 - All 4 points go into Durability for extra mid-late game health and survivability.

Tier 2 - 3 points into Hardiness to stave off minion damage in lane and jungle while only 1 goes into Resistance because no minions deal magic damage.

Tier 3 - Unyielding helps Olaf tank the enemy team. and Safeguard increases his towerdiving potential. Both of these are more or less to get to Tier 4.

Tier 4 - Juggernaut increases Olaf's health throughout the game, and really helps his early game survivability. Block is great to defend against the enemy AD carry.

Tier 5 - Olaf is a champion that can die a lot, so Good Hands eases the blow on that, Legendary Armor increases is overall tankiness.

Tier 6 - Honor Guard just increases his overall tanking ability.

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Greater Mark of Armor Penetration

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

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Summoner Spells

Viable Options
Ghost is a great spell on Olaf. It adds to his chasing potential and increases his ability to chase and gank tremendously. It's a great spell in teamfights as well; the ability to pass through units allows him to literally walk through the enemy team to the carry, burst them down, and walk away. Even his he dies: worth it. This can also be used as a long-ranged Flash when combined with Ragnarok. Ignite is also a very good spell. It gets him kills in the top lane, and reduces healing, so the enemy carry's lifesteal becomes irrelevant while Olaf is beating the ever-loving snot out of them. It's also great for get kills, consequently getting fed, in top lane.

Teleport is another good spell for mobility. It allows Olaf to get back in lane quickly should he need to go back or if he died. It's also good for reaching teamfights or saving Baron Nashor or Dragon if it's warded. Not as preferable as the first two, but still useful. My OCD was going off so hard; the first line of this paragraph was below the third line of Ignite's, so hopefully this will fix it.

There are other good spells on Olaf, among them Flash and Exhaust. That said, however, they didn't make it up here because I didn't feel like the offered as many benefits as they ought to. Flash has too long of a cooldown, and Olaf can escape better with Ghost and Ragnarok. Exhaust is good, but no points were put into Summoner's Wrath , so it doesn't reduce armor and magic resist.

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Skill Break-Down

: I honestly think this is one of the best passives in the game. For every 1% of health missing, Olaf gains 1% attack speed. This is what gives Olaf what has been referred to as "Man Mode". Combined with a max ranked Vicious Strikes and Ragnarok, Olaf can effectively stave off death with lifesteal and damage. During this time (around 30% health) Olaf becomes his most destructive, and is pretty much unkillable for 6 seconds.

: Arguably one of the hardest skillshots in League of Legends, Undertow is an axe that Olaf tosses out, dealing 260 (+1.0 per bonus AD) and slowing for 40% at max rank. The slow wears off over time. The axe will remain on the ground for the duration of the cooldown, and can be picked up if Olaf walks over axe, reducing the cooldown by 4.5 seconds. This is Olaf's utility spell with this build; it gives him great chasing power if he can consistently land the axe and pick it up afterwards. The range is adjustable, so it's always best to aim ahead of where the enemy is going. Be careful not to throw it somewhere that you can't pick it up from.

: Vicious Strikes is the capstone of Olaf's late game power. For 6 seconds, Olaf gains 21% lifesteal and spell vamp, as well as 35 bonus AD that scales with 1% of his total health. Once Olaf get's all of his health items, this skill offers a massive 75 bonus attack damage. This bonus adds to the scaling of Undertow, and increases his already-potent damage output. This is skill is essential to surviving in the heat of a teamfight and bursting down an enemy carry with basic attacks, Ignite, and Reckless Swing.

: Reckless Swing is easily my favorite skill on Olaf. It gives Olaf his powerful early game, as its range is longer than Olaf's basic attack, and at max rank deals 340 true damage to the targeted enemy, while dealing 136 damage to Olaf. While it does cost health, Olaf can't kill himself with it, and the damage you take can be healed back easily with some basic lifesteal. It's powerful all throughout the game, but falls off once the enemies start stacking some basic health, so you should save it for any armor-stackers like Rammus or Malphite, or the enemy AD carry.

: Ragnarok is Olaf's ultimate. Upon activation, Olaf removes all crowd controls from himself and becomes immune to any crown control for the next 6 seconds. While active, Olaf gains 30 armor penetration and 60 armor and magic resist. This ability can be used even while Olaf is crowd controlled, and is a hard counter to most any team with a series of stuns like Leona. Since this build doesn't emphasize resistances, this skill is paramount to Olaf's survival in a teamfight. It lasts as long as Vicious Strikes does, so be sure to use them in conjunction with each other.

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One of the things I've tried to emphasize throughout this guide is that Olaf is an anticarry. The entire build is geared to literally walk through the enemies' front lines and to their Ashe or Caitlyn. As such, Olaf needs to get as big and bad as he possibly can.

Early Game

Olaf's early game can go two ways, either as a clearspeed jungler or a top laner. I personally think that, given his role in this guide, top lane is the best place for Olaf to be. The job of the anticarry is to kill the carry. To do that, Olaf needs items. For items, Olaf needs farm and kills. The jungle can offer both of these, but less consistently than a lane can. A guide to freeze laning can be found here. Freeze laning is a really good technique that can get you minions without needing to take harass.

Mid Game

Mid game is Olaf's weakest point. It's where he can either be shut down for good or snowball out of control. It's rather like the Avatar State. Olaf's job in the mid game is farm, farm, farm. His transition to late game is awkward at best, and he needs to get itemized for the late game as quickly as possible. Whenever possible, stay away from your team and get farmed up. If you find yourself getting ganked too much, stay then with your team. Try to be with your team when capturing objectives like towers and Dragon (in some rare cases Baron). Olaf's ability to kill towers is phenomenal, rivaled only by carries like Fiora, Tryndamere, and Master Yi. That said, try to stay defensive unless you have a significant lead. Olaf is not invincible, and deaths here can cost you towers or the game.

Late Game

The late game is where Olaf really shines. His kit allows him to wade through the enemy defenses and kill their damage dealers. Often times, he will die, but it will be glorious, and a carry's death is worth far more than a lowly bruiser like Olaf. His pushing power get's a nice bolster, too, once he acquires some much-needed health and damage.

Very TL;DR-y section, I know. I don't think it'll happen again.

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As I've said many times over, items are what make Olaf the anticarry he is. In this section, I'll talk about the item choices and why I picked them.


x3: This was a standard start during Season 2, and is still very good now. It is a bit of a gambit, however. Even though it doesn't add any damage like the Elixir of Fortitude start, it doesn't offer as much sustain as other starts do. This start relies on your ability to dodge harass or be harassing yourself. It isn't optimal unless you're confident.

x5: This is a much safer start than boots, but will only be good against AD top laners. True, most top laners are AD, but against champions like Malphite or Shen, the armor is useless. However, the armor is a great counter to Wukong, Fiora, or even Lee Sin. It also offers great sustain against harassers like Jayce.

x3: This is the sustain start. Olaf already has great sustain through Vicious Strikes, but this start allows him to stay out of range while he regenerates health. While this start offers no stat bonuses, it does allow Olaf to stay out of some pretty sticky situations. It's a good start if you're planning on freeze-laning as well. It'll makes you less of a target for the enemy jungler.

Early-Mid Game Items

: These boots are amazing on Olaf. The Tenacity is great when Ragnarok is on cooldown, and the magic resistance staves off blows from the AP carry. Always get them when you need them, mainly when you start roaming, or earlier if against an AP top.

: Whoever Doran was, he knew what he was doing. Doran's Blade is a great item. It's adds to Olaf's already considerable sustain in lane (depending on your ability to stay in melee range, as well as what start you took). The added health is nice, and can be the difference between death and life in many cases. The extra damage also increases your ability to farm and the damage on Undertow which is sorely needed, since we're not maxing it first.

: Plain health. That's all. It builds into both Warmog's Armor and Frozen Mallet, so you'll need to buy two at some point, and it's a great sum of health that is transmuted into attack damage through Vicious Strikes. Other than that, there isn't much to be said for Giant's Belt.

: This item adds a lot to Olaf's chasing ability. It's a nice slow, albeit an unreliable one, and it builds into Frozen Mallet, Olaf's utility item. It's nice damage, nice slow, nice health, but only nice. Try to get it before the laning phase ends, rather than afterwards. This thing can net you a kill and save you from one.

: This is a great item that builds into an even better one. This build lacks magic resist, so take Hexdrinker instead of Phage should be against an AP top like Akali or Diana. It also offers a magic-blocking shield once your health is down to a certain percentage. Builds into an amazing item on Olaf, and is a must-have once you start roaming with your team.

: As I've said, Olaf needs items to be effective. Avarice Blade gives Olaf the ability to gain gold without needing to leave his team, as well as extra gold for killing a unit. It builds into Atma's Impaler which is a great item if you're stacking health items, but I wouldn't recommend upgrading Avarice until you have all of your health items, as the GP5 is too nice.

Core Items

: Slow, health, damage. Everything Olaf needs to stay on top of a carry and kill them. Four times over. The slow procs 100% of the times, so should you miss and Undertow, you should still be able to catch up before they're back to full speed. The health goes into more damage through Vicious Strikes, and is just an all-round good item for Olaf. He benefits from everything.

: Another item that Olaf benefits greatly from. Maw of Malmortius is a unique item that gives Olaf a passive rather like the passive on Tryndamere's Bloodlust. For every 2.5% of health that Olaf is missing, Maw gives him 1 attack damage. Not great on someone like Tryndamere, who doesn't have a lot of health, when you have around 4000 health, it's a great passive, especially since Olaf thrives near death. Maw of Malmortius also gives flat damage and magic resist, as well as a stronger magic shield.

: 1000 health. There is literally no replacement for this item. 1000 health translates into 25 extra AD between Vicious Strikes and Atma's Impaler alike. 25 AD may not seem like much, but with 4000 health, that's effectively 100 bonus AD. That's something to talk about. Warmog's Armor also adds sheer survivability to Olaf, something all melee-rangers need.

: Olaf is just about the only person I get Atma's on anymore. The armor is nice, especially since this build doesn't emphasize resistances, but the passive on this item is really what makes it shine. It adds AD equal to 1.5% of your total health (15 per 1000 health). This item has great synergy with Warmog's Armor and Vicious Strikes, making it a must-get on Olaf. It's also cheap as anything.

Late Game Items

: Perhaps the best item to get on Olaf late game. It gives him the teamfight presence that he so sorely needs, and lifesteal that isn't on a cooldown. It is, however, extremely expensive, and is very much a luxury item. Get it when you're ahead, and perhaps when you're not, but be judicious in buying it.

: Again, a very expensive item for late game. That said, it offers a great deal of attack damage and lifesteal, although for that to be effective, you need to be getting kills, which probably won't be happening if you have a good carry. It also doesn't give you a lot of teamfight presence, which is why I put this under Ravenous Hydra. However, it is cheaper, and still offers good stats without stacks.

: Very much in the same boat as The Bloodthirster. It's a great item, and with the current health meta, it's even better. However, I must again emphasize that Olaf is an anticarry. Theoretically, the enemy carry isn't building health, so you shouldn't get this item unless the enemy team is tanky. Even then, the active (if you remember to use it) is great for further chasing, and it does offer attack speed, but that is rather redundant, since you'll be around 50% health anyway.

: Anther great item. Zephyr offers slew of buffs, chief among them being the cooldown reduction and movement speed. With cooldown reduction, you'll have Undertow up more often, consequently keeping the enemy carry slowed more often. The movement speed also helps with chasing. The damage is nice, but not great, and the attack speed is, as I said earler, rather redundant. The Tenacity is also a bit of a waste, since you'll have hopefully gotten Mercury's Treads.

: Another active item, which I'm not a huge fan of. Even then, it offers some nice buffs. The cooldown reduction is good, and the active is a good initiation if you're lacking a hard one. The bonus movement speed will also feed into Ghost if you activate your summoner after Youmuu's Ghostblade. The bonus attack speed will give you a nice edge at the beginning of a fight, when you're at full health.

: Since you are Olaf, you'll be charging into fights a lot, subsequently dying. This is not good. You're no use to the team dead, barring your dead body being a nice decoration to the lane. Guardian Angel gives you a second chance to fight, and a second chance to deal more damage again before you die a second time. The extra resistances also allow you to stay alive longer. The one downside is the immensely long cooldown on the revive.

: If the enemy carry is too much for even you, the mighty Brolaf , Randuin's is the way to go. The passive is great, since is stunts their damage and lifesteal (effectively), and the armor will help you tank their hits even harder. In my opinion, Randuin's Omen is the best armor item in the game, because it's the perfect counter-carry item.

: Another really good item, its active is like a split second Ragnarok. Obviously the active is nothing like Olaf's ultimate, and you theoretically shouldn't need to use it, it can help you in a skirmish. However, Maw of Malmortius beats this out, because the active (and I really don't like actives) is rendered more or less irrelevant by Ragnarok, and Maw offers a shield, as well as more damage when Olaf's low.

"Runic: This item is like a Guardian Angel, just with different types of steroids. Instead of giving another life, Runic Bulwark adds a nice aura that will help your teammates in the fight, and gives more or less the same resistances as Guardian Angel, but with more health to boot. And more health means more damage.

: This is very, very situational, but there are times with the enemy AP ( Ahri) will be dealing more damage than the carry (sometimes they'll be doing the same). When that happens, magic resist up the wazoo. This will block and offense spell (although if they're smart, they won't waste a good spell on it) and it offers more health and mana. Overall a decent item, but far from necessary.


Enchantment: Alacrity is my favorite enchantment to choose on Olaf. The flat speed feeds into Ghost, which is always nice, and since most AD and AP carries have slower base speeds, it'll help you stay on top of them, even with speed multipliers like Phantom Dancer. Enchantment: Furor is an enchantment specifically geared towards chasing, and it's a nice speed bonus that's more or less a counterpart to the slow on Frozen Mallet. That said, the movement speed won't be amplified with Ghost as well as Enchantment: Alacrity's movement does.
Enchantment: Homeguard is more or less for defense. It let's you get back to lane quickly, especially if you took Teleport, but again, it's defensive. Homeguard is geared more towards the late game, where you'll need to get to base and get back to lane as quickly as possible.

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Solo Top Match-Ups

This is going to be more of a "fill-in-as-I-go" sort of thing. I need to do some more Olaf playing before I fill out this section in its entirety. I'm going to publish the guide without this, but expect more from this as I play more Olaf.

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Olaf is a very fun champion to play. He's very high risk, but very high reward, and it's very satisfying to run into a fight a wreck as many faces as you can. Despite his simple kit, there is an elegance to it, such that makes Olaf one of the higher skill-cap champions with a decent learning curve. One of the biggest mistakes someone can make is to think that just because you're Olaf, you're invincible. Even the mighty Brolaf can be killed.

Thanks for reading, and if you're feeling generous, toss me a +1 and a comment, I appreciate any feedback.

"Go forth, drink Graggy, and kill stuff." -- Brolaf

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May 4, 2013

  • Guide added
  • Updating solo top masteries after some more thought. The jungle build has the more risky masteries, while the solo top has the safer, tankier masteries.
  • Updated runes to flat AD quints instead of armor penetration.
  • Added a link to a freeze-laning guide to the Gameplay section.