Volibear Build Guide by Nishtha
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.
Under Construction Notice!!
Currently play testing alternative builds and actually having a good deal of success with a radically different approach to volibear. 2ndd build will Detail my current build progression and I will eventually get around to revamping the guide to reflect these changes. ~Enjoy
Update! - 12/15/2012
2nd build now reflects s3 changes. While still play-testing variations...I find that the Core items of sunfire, wits end and merc treads in this build are second to none for all that you get out of it. I know a lot of players may scoff at getting sunfire on voli...but you really just have to try it to see how effective it is :) Sunfire Improves your minion clearing power, and sunfire + wits end's magic damage will work with your magic pen!
Let me explain quick:
from just these 3 items you get Health, tenacity, Armor, MR, Attack speed and a huge chunk of dps. I find that the last 3 slots are often very situational. But once you get your core build you are a beast!
Hello, and Welcome to my Volibear guide. I've invested a lot of time and energy into play-testing and creating this guide so that I can share what I've learned with you!
To show that this guide works and it's not all just theory crafting and clever word-smithing - I've included a screenshot of my volibear gameplay history, as well as a full length game detailing my exploits. Now... Let's get on with it shall we?
The Proof Is In The History...
Here is a screenshot of my most recent games since I started to Main Volibear, Just a glimpse at this builds potential if played well. Please feel free to post your success stories in the comments below, and I welcome all CONSTRUCTIVE criticism about any build / item / rune ideas my fellow mobafire members can offer up.
I've played a ton of games as Volibear now and these are what I have personally found to be the most successfull. I realize that everyones play-style is different and a different set of runes may cater to yours more. So please, as with the rest of this guide - take it as just that- a guide. I'm here to outline the steps I took to become a successfull Volibear player, not dictate yours.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Health
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
- x9 Greater Mark of Attack Speed - Faster attack speed means a faster frenzy and more damage from your ult.
- x9 greater seal of vitality - Volibear has great armor per lvl base stats and since we start with dorans shield already - we want to grab as much bonus health as possible for tankiness and a bit of extra frenzy damage
- x9 Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - Allows us to get away with just Mercury's Treads and Wit's End for magic resist in most games.
- x2 Greater Quintessence of Health - More bonus health
- x1 Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - combined with
and a strong base movement speed we are mobile enough to catch up with most enemy champions. This allows us to be a threat and should not be overlooked. I've found that Since volibear is so vulnerable to CC, You need an edge here if you want to be able to remain competitive throughout the game.
The "core" build detailed here is detailed in the exact way I typically build Volibear, So i highly recommend sticking to it in most games. That being said - It's important to always be versatile and adapt to the enemy teams composition ( see situational items ).
His W scales purely off of bonus Health, this includes health gained from your rune and mastery page - Thus the health runes/masteries. This item will give you a good chunk of health, armor, and a bit of hp regen for some sustain. This is my starting item of choice.
Ah yes, the ol' tried and true boots of choice for most games - Volibear is rather vunerable to being kited ( thus the movement speed increase, Mercury's Treads and Juggernaut ) Not to mention the early MR that you will need to thrive. If a game requires a different set of boots - consider going for some other form of MR early as Volibears MR per lvl doesn't scale nearly as well as his armor.
Your going to want to get this quick and try to farm it up fast, It's not nearly as valuable of an item if you spend most of your time roaming or distracted instead of farming it up. AT this point You are now capable of tanking fairly well and can really put out some nice burst with your W.
Now here is where my build starts to differ from most Atmogs builds online - So lets take a moment to look at what we are giving up in exchange for all this baddassery that is Frozen Heart!
- 45 Armor
- 18% Crit Chance
- 2% of your health converted into AD damage ( example: 40 damage at 2,000 health / 80 damage at 4,000 health or 80 damage by end game)
- Total cost:2355
- 99 Armor
- 20% cd on all your spells
- 500 Mana
- 20% slow to attack speed aura for the enemy team
- Total Cost: 2775 ( 1525 for Glacial Shroud )
Now the tier 1 utility mastery tree gives us some Mana early game to work with, but it's honestly just enough to bring us to this point in the game, with the laning phase over - you will be spamming skills more often and in desperate need of mana. ( I like to play really aggressive ) Aside from just the mana you also get a nice chunk of armor and best of all... 15% cd reduction! Voli thrives on it! With such long cd's He really benefits a great deal from everything Glacial Shroud has to offer at this point in the game.Build this into Frozen heart when needed.
Bonus on hit damage, more MR, and 40% attack speed? SWEET! What most people may not realize or perhaps they refuse to accept...is that metagolem builds simply aren't as effective on Volibear. He has no ad scaling abilities - none,zip,zero ad scaling, so with atmogs builds, i feel your just a meat shield that is only good for autoattacks and typically 1 frenzy per fight...your easily ignorable most of team fights. However! If you followed this guide so far, your looking at a nice chunk of cd reduction meaning that your ult should be up for almost every team fight. And with his ult scaling a bit poorly from ability power, it's essential to build attack speed to really become a threat. Your goal is to force them to target you, because your damage over time in a team fight is devestating...If they want to stick around and fight...they have to take hit from your ult at 155 each attack...and if they try to run just slow and Frenzy them!
Now most games don't typically last this long, however if you find yourself at this point in the game wondering which item to grab next, I always like to go for the Hextech Revolver. A bit of spell damage for your E and R as well as some much needed spell vamp for sustain! With the big chunk of mana we get from Frozen heart you can easily go into a minion wave and heal back some health using W,E or R without having to worry about going back to base for mana or entering a team fight with very low mana afterwards. It may not seem like alot of spell vamp...but your E, R should heal you back to full in no time flat. Combine this with your passive and heal spell in team fights and you my friend just got a whole lot tankier for about 1200 gold. Build this into Hextech Gunblade as needed to gain even more spell vamp, life steal, ability power, damage, and a 60 second mini-nuke + slow. This items is amazing on Volibear! It gives him sustain, damage, and the utility of another slow - what more could you want?
Except of course maybe another slow and some more health! Pretty self explanatory Here - More Health, More AP, and essentially a constant slow for the entire team using your E or R abilities.This is my end game item of choice.
I've done a lot of theory crafting and more importantly play-testing with my core build detailed here in this guide, but as versatile as it is in most games there are going to situations where there are simply better alternatives. When venturing down an alternative build order you will have to strongly consider what you are giving up say when you replace Frozen Heart with Thornmail, and try to find some other complimentry items that can fill some of the gaps - in this case the loss of 20% cd reduction.
I typically decide to pick up thornmail when faced with 3 or more AD champions that depend on lifesteal and burst damage to stay alive to dish out damage in team-fights. Particularly champions like Olaf, Master Yi and Vayne. This will help negate most, if not all of their lifesteal when they are targeting you and make it much easier to deal with them throughout the length of the game.
Although this is a great item, particularly because it allows you to shrug off a cc ability when initiating - I can never find an ideal time to build towards it, knowing what I would be giving up to do so. If you were to decide to build this item however, make sure to grab catalyst early in the game to fully benefit from the sustain it offers when leveling up.
Aegis of the Legion
As much as this may delay some of your end game items in this build, Aegis is always a very strong early/mid game item. Often times if I am having trouble farming up Warmogs, I will build Aegis to gain the edge for me and my team for early / mid game. A very strong pick on Volibear in almost any game.
I actually really like this item on Volibear, it's just difficult to find items that compliment it at a reasonable price. I typically opt for this item If I am doing very, very well in a game, Or if i had to deviate from my core build. It has attack speed, cd reduction, mana regen and ability power. If you decide not to use Frozen Heart or Wit's End This can be the perfect item to fill some of those gaps!
Another Fantastic item on Volibear, this will make sure that anyone that is foolish enough to get caught in your combo will not be able to escape. Although it offers up only HALF the health of Warmogs - What you get instead are an amazing single target slow and some welcome AD damage to help out in early / mid game. The real draw here is the incredible slow and the +700 health. I typically only buy this item in dominion games, primarily because I have learned to function without the utility of the slow and still be effective. If you are just starting out as Volibear - This item can be a fantastic way to make the learning curve a little less steep.
I enjoy this item very much when I decide to deviate from my core build with something like Mercury's Treads, Warmog's Armor, Guardian Angel and Nashor's Tooth. It allows you to still be tanky while still offering the attack speed and cd reduction that volibear needs. This is ONLY taken however when there is another tank on the team and I do not have to concern myself as much with keeping everyone alive and soaking up damage but can rather focus on staying alive myself and dishing out tons of damage. A cool thing about this item is that if you die while your passive goes up, it will continue to heal you while Guardian Angel revives you!
If the enemy teams AD/AS carries have started to become a real threat and Frozen Heart just doesn't seem to be slowing them down enough, This is a fantastic choice! If you typically favor a more defensive build this has some fantastic synergy with the your aoe movement slow and aoe attack speed slow from Frozen Heart. With More armor, Health, Health regen, CD reduction and passive/active aoe slow this is a truly powerful item on Volibear. I typically start with Heart of Gold and build into this late game if i'm anticipating trouble from the enemy AD carries.
Chosen of the Storm:
This is volibears passive skill. It heals back 30% of your max health over time when you fall below 30% health. The more health you have, the more you will get healed! Smart players will realize this however and ignite you to reduce healing effects. Keep this in mind and play smart!
Your initiate, escape and gap closer. If I know I'm up against a difficult lane I tend to let them push minions back to my tower and Q,E,W them to gain the advantage or the kill. Your Q,E,W is your bread and butter combo. The biggest thing I see people do wrong when playing volibear is not knowing how precisely to use this combo. I have watched dozens of videos of volibear players and no one seems to realize that While you are chasing an enemy with Q and you know that you are close and it's about to go on cooldown - You can use E to slow them and catch up, Land the flip and Frenzy - Bam you just got yourself a Kill! Another neat trick is to use it in conjuction with flash if you know that your combo will secure the kill. Rolling thunder and flash in towards them and then E, W for the kill. Only pop R if your sure the extra damage will secure the kill. You can also use it to damage towers if your're certian you will not need it for an escape. And lastly Using R prior to landing Q will enable it to deal 1 hit of your ultimate on your flip - giving you just a bit of extra damage.
I max this first after his ultimate, for it's burst damage and passive increase to attack speed. Getting used to "charging" the skill up takes sometime, as does keeping in eye on the timer to make sure your not chasing an enemey down under their tower thinking you can get an easy frenzy kill only to have it go on cooldown. Also worth while to note that you can also flash in and frenzy them if they dare to get near you at low health. Keep in mind that volibear will have a bright orange "paw" above his head that is visible to the enemey and yourself when it is ready to use.
His other CC. This one is rather straight forward - You want to use it in the Combos mentioned above or to farm / secure last hits in laning phase. It has a pretty forgiving range so feel free to abuse it as long as you have the mana to back it up. One more thing here that is worth while to note is that it also fears enemy minions and champion clones / pets. This list includes Shaco, Annie, Yorick, Heimerdinger, LeBlanc, Mordekaiser and Malzahar. Abuse this feature often to discern which clone you should be targeting, while negating that clones damage for a few seconds. I've also found it particularly helpful vs. Yoricks pets during laning phase. You have a unique advantage over this really strong lane bully and need to learn how to use and abuse it!
Ah, Volibears ultimate - While it can be used to farm during the laning phase I almost always save it for a champion fight / team fight as you will need the extra damage! The only time I use it to farm is when I'm going to back afterwards. Thunder claws procs on each attack that Volibear does and bounces to several other nearby targets - prioritizing chammpions over minions. Often times an enemey will try to escape while you have your Q,E on cooldown but still have R up and they are just out of reach - You can try to secure the kill by hitting a nearby enemy champ or minion to have it arc out and take them down.
I have always felt that summoner spells are more personal preference than something that is set in stone. For me I have had the most success running flash to make sure i'm mobile enough to do my job and Heal to support my team and Bait the enemy with my passive. I'm assuming that if you have played LOL before or ever read a guide that you know what all the Summoner Spells are and are capable of figuring out what works for YOU! I am not going to insult your intelligence and add a useless wall of text explaining each one as they relate to Volibear. Although If I had to choose some "Runner up" spells to use on Volibear I would suggest Ghost or Cleanse.
Team Gameplay Role
I've found success in nearly every role...with the exception of jungle. While I do find jungling enjoyable with a few champions, Volibear is not one of them. I have however been able to hold my own solo top, bottom support and mid! In fact mid is ideal, as our mids are typically low health, low armor, and easy to catch in your q+e+w comobo. The most difficult thing here is finding a team willing to give up that position. But heck, I'm a team player and I go where I am needed.
Although Riot has labeled Volibear as a tank, and while he can accomplish this to some degree. There are simply better tanks out there. It's not that he can't soak up damage and disrupt - He just can't do it very well. If your team has a number of squishy characters and you are the only one who is playing someone tanky...you may want to consider another champ to fill that gap. My most successful games have been played as an off tank / bruiser. This is a fantastic place to position yourself within the team, Because now there are 2 players instead of just the one trying to keep the carries / support alive. And if you are doing well, people will often times look at your score, see you as the biggest threat and focus you first - Which is great! Let them try to break through all your tanky items and HP while your team destroys them. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't.
You are such a large threat with your ult up that if they ignore you...they probably won't live to regret it. With your ult at max lvl It can dish out some serious damage over time! ( spread out at 1.5 attacks per second for 12 seconds = 18 attacks x 155 per attack, not including AP from items comes out to ~2800 damage! ) And that is to each member on their team so times that number by 5 = 14,000 in 12 seconds!. (It's over 9,000!! - DBZ throwback - had to do it:) )
Now are you starting to see why we build attack speed, spell vamp, and CDR? Now realistically you probably won't be able to get each and every auto=attack off during a team fight or hit everyone with each spell and of course you have to consider MR. But you get the idea I'm sure. Even at a fraction of it's full potential it is deadly. And that's not even mentioning your Frenzy execute, other spells, auto-attack damage, Wit's End, and your Hextech Gunblade mini nuke.
Volibear Gameplay Tips
When Playing as Volibear:
- Keep track of your Chosen of the Storm's cooldown, as well as the oppositions summoner spells. The last thing you want is to try and bait the enemy with your passive and get hit with an ignite.
- your Q,E,W combo will not kill an enemy from full health - You need to engage a few times and land frenzy to weaken them before you commit to a kill. After you blow all your cd's retreat while you have them slowed from Majestic Roar and wait to do it again.
- If you are laning against a champ with a lot of sustain you need to be really aggressive in landing his combo and zoning out the enemy so they cannot regen health. It's essential you don't play too passively or you will get destroyed. However as mentioned before - If you are having difficulty, you can always let them push the minion wave close to your tower and attempt to fling, slow and frenzy them while they take turret hits.
- Volibear is great at setting up ganks for your jungler once he hits lvl 3 and has his combo, Especially since he can bait with his passive and heal! Coordinate ganks often with your jungler when he is near your lane to gain the edge early game.
When Playing against Volibear:
- Volibear will have Frenzy icon glowing bright orange when it is active, if you are low on health do not engage him while it is up. He is an expert at baiting with his multiple heals and Frenzy execute.
- You can make sure the enemy volibear doesn't continue to play so aggressively by forcing his passive and retreating. At this point he has 120 seconds until he can use it again and is much easier to take down. You can also opt to go for the kill if you have ignite to cut his healing over time down from his passive dramatically.
- Volibears Rolling Thunder has some rather annoying mechanics built into it, 1 of which is that if he loses sight of your champion during his charge ( say you flash over a wall), his movement speed will drop from 45% bonus to the default 15%. And more importantly whenever he loses sight of you during a chase through brush, it will automatically stop him in his tracks and the player will have to re-click to your general direction to continue the pursuit. New players especially can easily be thrown off by some clever juking.
Watch and Learn...
A typical 5v5 Normal Game Playing as Volibear. In this game I went 15/3/21. I'm no film maker, but this will really help illustrate a lot of the things I've covered in my guide. Make sure to take note of all the tactics and tips I used from this guide during the game, as well as my mistakes. Once you are comfortable with Volibear - I highly recommend downloading LOL replay and reviewing some of your games to critique your performance. You can find it Here.Enjoy~
Note to Readers:
If you enjoyed the guide or used it and did well - Please take a moment to comment below. Alternatively if there is something that is lacking or you would like to see added I welcome all constructive feedback and will take it to heart and work on Finding a place for it in my Guide. Thank you.
**Special Thanks to JhoiJhoi for creating an awesome guide building how to! Her epic guide can be found here!"