Volibear Build Guide by 4sight
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.
Some minor modifications lowering attack speed a bit for some more ArPen and utility.
- The 9 points from offense mastery tree have been moved to utility, taking Expanded Mind in order to stay in lane longer and Swiftness to complement Rolling Thunder.
- Seals taken changed from Seal of vitality to Seal of Health in order to assist in lower levels.
- Now taking all 3 quintessences as quintessence of desolation
When I saw the previews for Volibear, I knew I was going to buy him. Other than the name (come on Riot, you can do better...) he sounded great. I'll explain this shortly in the intro, and of course in more detail in the guide:
- A non squishy melee fighter with an interrupt and AoE slow - this is just about as good as it gets for melee champs. If you think about it, this is similar to Singed, only with higher melee damage and attack speed. This makes Volibear not very item dependent, and therefore much more fun to play.
- A passive ( Chosen of the Storm) that rivals Rebirth in survivability, and is one of the best passives in the game for getting first blood.
- The ability to be played in many different ways, with many builds! Works well as tank, pusher or jungler. Volibear is a very useful lane partner due to his CC, and can easily solo a lane if needed.
- Low CD medium duration ultimate.
I generally play Volibear as a tanky dps champ, but what's great is with my build I can decide mid game if I should go full tank or more dps, depending on my team's situation.
Now, I wanted to publish this as soon as possible so people can start trying out this build, so
After playing a few more games, I'd like to post my win/loss for past ten:
Last game we had a really bad team, and game before that the other team really was exceptional. I actually have a better than 80% win ratio with Volibear, but can only show 10 at a time. I will update when I can. (Yes, these really are the last 10 games, I'm not fudging the image to show only wins).
Pros / Cons
All in all, a great champ. Most of his cons are minor, and the ones that aren't can be fixed with runes and masteries. Also, since he's not very item dependent, you can play quite well without needing to be fed (and you can focus on harass and not farming).
volibear's skills are all close range and are mostly based on his melee attacks. For this reason, I prefer playing AD/AS to utilize his abilities to the maximum.
Chosen of the Storm - When volibear's health drops below 30% he regenerates 30% health over 6 seconds. This ability has a 2 minute cooldown.
As I stated before, great survivability passive. On the one hand, it let's you stay in the fight just a bit longer, letting you get the kill just when your enemy thinks you're about to die. On the other, it allows you to live a little bit longer - just enough to reach your team or turret for some assistance if you need it. This has also saved me from some nasty turret dives, as well as players who throw Ignite on me thinking it'll be enough and then turning to leave.
However, you must that two things into account:
- The regeneration is not immediate but rather takes 6 seconds. Nukers and players with high AS will be able to chop you down at higher levels. This is why I take Heal - I wait till Chosen of the Storm kicks in and then I cast Heal. This way I benefit from all 6 seconds of the regeneration and nukers don't have a chance to take me out before I heal.
- This ability has a very high cooldown which is not affected of course by CD reduction. Always pay attention to your CD timer.
Rolling Thunder - Volibear drops to all fours and runs faster if chasing an enemy champion. The first enemy he attacks is knocked into the air.
Volibear gains 45% Movement Speed while moving toward enemy champions. Lasts 4 seconds.
Volibear's next attack deals an additional 25/50/75/100/125 physical damage and flings the target behind him.
Just like in all those nature shows - Volibear charges enemies on all fours and attacks! The added speed is very impressive, just too bad it doesn't scale with levels. In fact, Rolling Thunder scales quite poorly in general. The bonus damage is quite low (and doesn't scale of any attribute) and the cooldown only drops 1 second per level. However, it's great as an interrupt, and even though the fling distance is quite short, it's still viable for turret flinging. I use it mainly to save allies being chased and to stop channeled abilities.
One thing to remember here is that you only get the speed bonus when chasing an enemy, so this isn't very useful for escapes.
Even though the bonus physical damage, as I said, is quite low and doesn't scale well, I still max it before Majestic Roar. This is due to the fact that Rolling Thunder is the only basic ability which scales cooldown per level, and I want to have the interrupt ready as fast as I can.
Frenzy - Volibear's repeated attacks grant him additional Attack Speed. Once Volibear has repeatedly attacked three times, he can perform a vicious bite on his target which deals increased damage based on the target's missing health.
Passive: Volibear gains 8/11/14/17/20% Attack Speed with each attack. Stacks up to 3 times.
Active: When Volibear has 3 stacks of Frenzy, he can bite an enemy to deal 90/140/190/240/290 (+ [20% of bonus Health]) physical damage, increased by 1% for each 1% health the target is missing.
A wonderfully overpowered ability. The triple stacked attack speed ranges from 24% to 60%, which gives great damage at very early levels and scales well with your ulti in mid-late levels. Activating the ability does not remove the passive, so you don't have to worry about that. You basically maul your enemy dealing insane damage which scales greatly off bonus health (I'm actually afraid Riot might nerf this - which they shouldn't because without it he's no very viable anymore) and deals even more damage to injured enemies. Also, since it does physical damage you can count on the ArPen you already have for your basic attacks and don't need to worry about magic penetration.
As a test case, I usually have around 1000 bonus health at level 9. With Frenzy being at level 5, it deals 290 base damage + 200 bonus damage from health = 490 damage. For every 10% health an enemy is missing, you deal 49 more damage. So, against a champion with 50% health this deals 735 damage (before armor of course). With your armor penetration, this will kill many squishy champs and cripple any non-tank (e.g. lets say an enemy has 40 armor after armor reduction, which translates to 28% damage reduction - meaning you deal 528 damage; killing a champion who originally had 1000 health and is now at 50%).
As always, a word of caution - Frenzy must be refreshed about every 2.5 seconds or all stacks are lost, as well as the ability to activate until you re-stack. So, be careful when chasing foes. Too many times I find myself reaching an enemy under his turret one second too late to activate Frenzy as a last hit.
Majestic Roar - Volibear deals 60/95/130/165/200 (+0.6) magic damage to nearby enemies and slow them by 30/35/40/45/50% for 3 seconds. Minions and monsters are feared as well.
Another helpful CC ability, great for chasing as well as saving yourself and allies. The bonus damage is nice, but since it has a high 11 second CD and I don't take any AP (Volibear scales weakly off AP), I don't count on this much as a damaging ability.
I usually start off after an enemy with Rolling Thunder and then hit Majestic Roar near him to make sure he doesn't get away before my 4 seconds to catch him run out, and also to make his escape afterwards harder.
Due to the added "fear" against minions and monsters, Majestic Roar is very useful for clearing minion aggro or saving your turret from a horde of assaulting minions. This also makes Volibear a very viable jungler.
An interesting use of this ability, is discovering which is the real Shaco or LeBlanc when they proc Hallucinate and mirror image (since the clone will be feared).
Thunder Claws - Volibear channels the storm, causing all basic attacks for 12 seconds to deal 75/115/155 (+0.3) magic damage, which chains to 4 nearby enemies.
Well, there really isn't too much to say about this ability. A nice addition your melee attacks, plus the bonus AoE damage which catches enemy champions by surprise. The best thing about this ability is its duration of 12 seconds. with 1.5 AS, you can attack up to 18 times while active, dealing devastating damage to your main target while injuring surrounding enemies as well. This is also a good farming tool, allowing you to focus an enemy champion surrounded by minions while farming them in the process (using Majestic Roar to clear the aggro and deal more damage). Use this in every attack possible, especially team fights. Don't worry about "saving it" too much, it actually has a reasonable CD (with your CD reduction items).
The only "problem" with this ability is that it scales off AP (and quite weakly - only 0.3). In my opinion, it's not worth investing in AP for this spell, as it is not your main source of damage or durability, but rather an added bonus.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Seal of Health
Greater Quintessence of Lethality
Initial attack speed is very important for Volibear, as your cooldowns are quite long and you want to focus on dealing damage as fast as you can. This also compliments your Frenzy passive and, in time, Thunder Claws. greater mark of desolation might be viable as well, since most of your damage is physical, however I believe that the ArPen from Greater Quintessence of Desolation and Weapon Expertise is enough, and AS marks are more helpful.
Greater Seal of Fortitude
With Frenzy getting 20% damage from HP bonuses and Chosen of the Storm healing HP by percentage, there really isn't much debate here in my opinion. This gives you durability and increases damage output at the same time. I take flat HP instead of greater seal of vitality since this gives Frenzy an extra kick at low levels, while your health bonus items are more than enough in higher levels.
Greater Glyph of Focus
As I mentioned earlier, Volibear has some cooldown issues. CD reduction is a must here, otherwise you might find yourself in a bit of trouble mid game.
Greater Quintessence of Desolation Greater Quintessence of Desolation
Armor penetration is usually a solid choice when it comes to AD champs. Since I take attack speed marks, this is the place ArPen runes.
I take a 9-21-0 build here, obviously focusing on defense and some added damage in offense (along with Summoner's Wrath ). The reason I don't take Sorcery here for CD reduction is that the added 6% attack speed from Alacrity along with the ArPen from Weapon Expertise are much more damage efficient for the first few levels, and I take enough CD reduction items afterwards. Also, Arcane Knowledge isn't very helpful as I don't plan on doing too much magic damage.
Changed. Will be removed soon, but for now I left it crossed so you can compare.
I take a 0-22-8 build here, obviously focusing on defense and some utility to round out my lane durability. I take Expanded Mind in order to stay in lane longer and Swiftness to complement Rolling Thunder and also have the ability to get away a little faster if necessary. Summoner's Insight is taken to improve Teleport.
In the defense tree I focus on health and healing, taking Summoner's Resolve for the Heal bonus, Durability , Veteran's Scars , Juggernaut and Vigor for health and health regeneration (along with the CC reduction). Honor Guard and Hardiness give me some nice early game damage reduction, and Enlightenment helps me round down my CD from mid to late game which makes up the difference for not taking Sorcery . Finally, Initiator gives me the added edge when chasing down enemies.
Taking Indomitable is also viable for some more early game damage reduction. With minions doing less damage to champs now, this makes their onslaught easily tolerable.
As I said before, Volibear isn't very item dependent. This isn't to say that you're not going to need items throughout the game, but you don't have to be obsessed with minion farming at the beginning just to be viable after level 6 like some champs do. Volibear can hold his own for a very long time in lane without needing to buy items. Start out with a Doran's Shield for the obvious reasons:
- Extra health for Frenzy (and durability)
- Health regeneration
Now get in lane and get first blood. Seriously, you can even get FB when 2v1 with your health and regeneration + the crazy damage from Frenzy (though you might get killed after, but it's still worth it). In 2v2 you can easily get FB and escape with 50% HP.
Next up take Kindlegem for some CD reduction and more health, and Boots of Speed followed by more health in the form of Giant's Belt. By now, 4-5 auto attacks + Frenzy will bring an enemy to half health. Next work up to Berserker's Greaves and Spirit Visage (the healing buff goes great with Chosen of the Storm). This is more or less what you will need until pretty late in the game. You can now roam freely, farm and gank when the opportunity arises, as you have a lot of health, reasonable armor and magic resist, and loads of healing.
From here, you can decide which way to go: Tank or DPS.
DPS Build Items
I usually go for more DPS, while remaining tanky enough to survive most encounters. I take The Brutalizer for some damage and CD reduction, which I will later build into Youmuu's Ghostblade in late game if needed. I then take Phage for even more health, along with damage and the added slowing effect (complimented by Frenzy passive), which I later build into Frozen Mallet (this now basically turns most of your abilities into CC attacks).
Now, if you've been paying attention, you might have noticed that I rely a lot on bonus health (it's hard to make out, but go back and read the build and you'll notice it's subtly mentioned). So, of course, I take Warmog's Armor in late game to really bring Frenzy to its OP potential (note that I don't take this earlier as it's quite expensive and not really needed early game). For the finishing touch, since I have around 4000 HP by now, I take Atma's Impaler (replacing Doran's Shield) for the massive damage and critical strike bonuses.
Tank Build Items
In general, tank builds are dependent on the enemy team and their abilities. However, I do first of all go for Warmog's Armor for the obvious extra health and regeneration. If the enemy team is heavy on physical damage abilities I take Glacial Shroud into Frozen Heart for armor and CD reduction and Sunfire Cape for more health and armor. For a heavy magic damage team, I go for Soul Shroud for CD reduction and health along with Force of Nature for the heavy magic resist. For attack speed heavy teams (such as those with Xin Zhao , Master Yi or Tryndamere I'll take Thornmail instead of Frozen Heart (taking Soul Shroud to compensate for the CD reduction). As my last item I take either Guardian Angel if we are doing fairly bad, or Aegis of the Legion if we get into quite a bit of team fights.
Item builds are never written in stone, and are the most modular part of any guide. You should know the game well enough that you can see when different items are needed for certain situations. This is especially true for tanks and melee champs (less for casters and ranged). Here a few item swaps you may need if the situation arises:
Take Mercury's Treads instead of Berserker's Greaves if you see very early on that you will need a tanky build, and the enemy team has a lot of crowd control champs (or just one that is very fed or very good).
Doing really well early game and not dying? Get Leviathan before Giant's Belt. It gives a lot of health for a very low price if you are getting early kills and assists. (this will replace the need for Warmog's Armor later on).
Take instead of Spirit Visage if your lane enemies do no magic damage, and you find yourself not needing the 15% healing buff. This item lets you stay in lane longer as well (health and mana regen), so take it if you keep going back to base for mana regneration.
I want to at least give you some tips from what I've learned so far, so here goes:
- Try to save the active part of Frenzy for as long as possible, don't use it the second it becomes available. The lower your enemy's health is, the more damage Frenzy does. So save it until he has lost at least 1/2 health.
- Chosen of the Storm is an incredible passive. This makes Volibear incredibly durable, and underestimated. This will get you first blood so many times. Just focus on one enemy with your lane partner, and save Frenzy until he is low on health. Your passive should kick in just as your enemies think one more hit will kill you, and this is when you strike with Frenzy, usually taking first blood. I also take Heal (yes, yes... you think it's a noob spell) which saves me in case of Ignite or if they heal as well.
- Rolling Thunder is a great ganking tool. Cast just as you are leaving the bushes and try to throw enemy in the direction of your teammate(s). You can use Majestic Roar to either slow the enemy down if they are outrunning you just as you get near them, or right after your fling to give you and your team a few extra seconds of attack time.
- Thunder Claws has quite a short cooldown, and along with the passive AS of Frenzy can do a lot of damage in 12 seconds. Just at level 6: 150 damage (1/2 phys 1/2 magic) per hit, not counting any bonus AD or AP! With an attack speed of ~1.1 hit/sec you can hit 13 times while Thunder Claws is active, doing nearly 2000 damage. Even with 40% damage reduction (which is a lot for level 6), 1200 damage is enough to kill most champs at this point.