Any of these are viable
Not Updated For Current Season
Welcome. My name is J 2 the ROC (knowemSAYIn), and you are about to embark upon a Magical Journey...one that will dismiss everything you ever thought you knew about the champion they call Volibear. This build will blow your mind, and when you try it in ranked, you will blow your opponent's mind. You will be doing a lot of blowing very soon.
Most Volibear players you encounter will likely tell you take to Grasp of the Undying , whilst stacking health runes so your Frenzy can deal tons of damage. I call this build "Volibear Lite" because, sure, you are still playing Volibear, but you aren't really getting the full experience, hence the "lite" aspect.
Instead, I am going to introduce you to the Volibear Deluxe Doom Edition build. With this build, you are going to be just as tanky as Volibear Lite, but you will be dealing significantly more damage.
Volibear Deluxe Doom Edition prioritizes very strong auto attacks from Fervor of Battle and Thunder Claws (and eventually Titanic Hydra) supplemented by attack speed from your runes and Frenzy's passive. Because you are still building full tank, you can make full use of the bonus damage on Frenzy and the ridiculous health regen from Chosen of the Storm. With Volibear Deluxe Doom Edition, you will be bursting squishes, shredding tanks, and pulling hoes.
I have had great success with this build, and you can click the spoiler to see one of my multiple winning streaks with this build as of writing this guide.
Patch 6.9 and Mid Season update
Before getting into the core of this guide, I would like to address some changes that came about with Patch 6.9. This is by far the biggest patch I have seen in awhile, and Volibear has definitely been affected, most notably by the following changes:
- Updates to Spirit Visage
- Added CD to Warmog's Armor and different build path
- Removal of boot enchantments
- Increased cost to Sunfire Cape
As a result, I've made some slight changes to this build. First, I switched out Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction with Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist. The MR reduction on Spirit Visage and the increased strength of mages make these runes essential. I also now recommend getting Warmog's Armor as a third item since it now provides CDR.
Overall, I actually think patch 6.9 made Volibear a bit stronger. His laning phase is weaker without the CDR runes, but his late game sustain is better. With Spirit Visage and Warmog's Armor, you're base health regen will be at 400% (not counting the Spirit Visage increase in healing from 20% to 25%). And if your team can get an ocean drake or two, your health regen will be even higher.
Why Volibear Lite just ain't cutting it
Now, if you have been playing Volibear Lite, don't worry. At first glance, Volibear Lite makes a lot of sense, because it focuses on his obvious strengths as a tank (his regen from Chosen of the Storm and percent health scaling on Frenzy). Take health seals and armor quints, and sustain with
Grasp of the Undying
Well I'll explain why Volibear Lite just ain't cutting it. Let's do some quick theorycrafting. If you take 9 health seals, and the 5 points in veteran's scars, thats a total of 117 extra health that you start the game with. Not bad! Probably, makes your Frenzy hurt a lot more right? Well, let's look at the math. Your W scales off 15% of your bonus health, plus (1% for each 1% health the target is missing). With these runes and masteries, Frenzy would do at most, 30 damage more than with different runes and masteries. That's it. 30 EXTRA DAMAGE. Keep in mind this doesn't scale at all because that 117 bonus health is a flat amount you get at the beginning of the game.
Now let's compare that to Volibear Deluxe Doom Edition's runes and masteries. I will only factor in Fervor of Battle and your attack speed runes, so we're not even counting the extra goodies from the offensive mastery tree. Any realistic trade will be at least 5 or 6 auto attacks, and with Fervor of Battle , that equates to 36 damage at level 1. Already, you've done more damage then you would have done with the health seals. But more importantly, this number ramps up in damage very quickly. At level 18, you will be doing an extra 112 Damage per auto attack. Combine that with your attack speed runes, you will be able to land more of those autos. Don't fool yourself into thinking a little extra health at the beginning of the game will give you much more damage.
And as for the sustain from Grasp of the Undying , I can't say that it's not valuable. It is great for staying healthy when Chosen of the Storm isn't active. But the reason Fervor of Battle is the better option is because it fits Volibear's laning style much better. Grasp of the Undying is best used on champions that make many small trades during the laning phase, but because of the nature Volibear's kit, you are going to be spending more time going all in rather than making periodic trades. Additionally, you will already be regening a ton of health with Chosen of the Storm, so it really isn't that useful in teamfights. I'll explain more later on.
Pros and Cons
What Volibear is good at
+ Extremely tanky with Chosen of the Storm
+ Burst Execute with Frenzy
+ Great utility and sticking power with Rolling Thunder and Majestic Roar
+ Incredibly strong auto attacks with Fervor of Battle and Thunder Claws
+ Can peel your own carry or focus down enemy carries
What Volibear sucks at
- VERY easily kited in teamfights
- Loses a lot of tankyness when his passive is on cooldown
- Leveling up Frenzy doesn't reduce cooldown
- Easily countered with Ignite
After the nerfs to Teleport, I've decided that it is simply no longer worth it to take it on Volibear. Now that the channel time has increased by a full second, it is far more difficult to pull off teleport ganks bot. Most bot lanes will be able to kite you easily even if you do make it in time. Teleport is still good for getting back to lane, but if you take a different summoner that nets you one or two kills that you wouldn't otherwise get, then the trade off is worth it.
As a replacement, I really like Exhaust over something like Ignite. It is incredibly easy to bait enemies when you have both Exhaust and Chosen of the Storm up. It's better than Ignite in most cases because you will already be dealing tons of damage with your auto attacks, and the slow and armor reduction from Exhaust will allow you to land more of them. If, however, you are facing someone with a lot of healing ( Maokai, Dr. Mundo, etc.), it might be a better idea to take Ignite.
And of course, always take Flash!
- Greater Seal of Armor - Even though Frenzy scales of bonus health, armor seals are a much better investment for laning then health seals.
- Greater Mark of Attack Speed - Attack Speed is so important on Volibear, not only to get three stacks in Frenzy to use the active quicker, but more importantly to proc
Fervor of Battle
and Thunder Claws. Since this build does not include any attack speed items, it's essential you take these runes.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - Magic resist is harder to come by now that Spirit Visage only provides 55 magic resist, so these glyphs are necessary.
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - You need to get on carries or anyone with an escape, so the movement speed comes in very handy later on, synergizing well with Boots of Swiftness and Dead Man's Plate.
I've already explained the absurd strength of Fervor of Battle , so I'll just highlight a few masteries that I think are strong on Volibear. These are all honestly based on personal preference, so feel free to pick differently as long as you still go 18/0/12. I like Runic Armor over veteran's scars because it synergizes better with Chosen of the Storm, which will be used many times throughout the game. I also really like Explorer because it helps a bit with teamfights near baron or dragon, or escaping through bushes. Lastly, any of the tier 2 offensive masteries are good, but I like Double Edged Sword for maximum damage.
Chosen of the Storm
|Mini Dr. Mundo Ult that automatically triggers when low on health. This passive is arguably one of strongest in the game, quickly returning 30% of your max health when you get too low. But the best thing about it is the fact your opponent will almost always underestimate just how much you can heal, and you can bait very easily with it. Unfortunately, Grievous Wounds severely reduces the effectiveness of this passive, so always be careful if your opponent has Ignite.|
|Movement speed steroid that let's you fling your opponent behind you. Rolling Thunder has an incredible amount of utility, both in lane and teamfights. Open with Rolling Thunder, use Majestic Roar once they start to run away, and then start whacking away at them. The movement speed buff can be used to get to mobile opponents, or to escape an incoming gank. If your opponent is pressuring you under tower, try and fling them back when they aggro you so they take even more damage. Max this last.|
|Grants attack speed and a single target execute. The passive portion of Frenzy grants bonus attack speed, which synergizes well with your super strong auto attacks. Once you have three stacks, you can use the execute portion of Frenzy. I think the hardest part of playing Volibear is knowing when to use the execute, as lot of people will do it to early and lose out on a lot of damage. If you are trying to kill your opponent, then wait till they are down to about 20% health before using it. If they don't have much max health, you can use it a bit earlier. Max this first.|
|Area of Effect slow that also fears minions and monsters. Majestic Roar is a great utility ability, not only effective for sticking to fleeing enemies, but also very useful in team fights for either peeling or your own carry or slowing the enemy carries. Because this ability fears minions, you can still be aggressive towards your opponent even if they are around a big minion wave. Just make sure you fear the caster minions before a trade. When engaging, always use Rolling Thunder to flip your opponent, and then use Majestic Roar so you can stick to them as long as possible. Be very weary of this abilities range, as it is relatively small. Max this second.|
|Auto attack steroid that applies damage to your target and up to three targets around it.. This where the majority of Volibear's damage comes from, as the damage buff that it provides is just ridiculous. At level 6, your auto attacks do an extra 75 damage for 12 seconds. That's the equivalent of instantly getting three Pickaxes for 12 seconds. On top of that, Thunder Claws deals magic damage, and most of your lane opponents won't be building magic resist against you.
Coupled with Fervor of Battle , your auto attacks are going to be shredding though your enemies very easily, meaning you don't have to build any damage items (other than maybe Titanic Hydra) to still be a threat. Because Thunder Claws applies to up to three enemies around your target, you will be doing a lot of damage in teamfights just by auto attacking the closest enemy. Max this ASAP.
There are many different items that are viable on Volibear, and knowing which ones to build and when to build them are important. However, in virtually every scenario, your first two will be the same.
If you are playing against an AD opponent, get a Sunfire Cape first. The health and armor are obviously good, but the AoE passive is excellent for clearing minion waves. Stand in the middle of wave and use Majestic Roar while Sunfire Cape finishes them off. The burn is also pretty useful for damaging your opponents in extended fights.
If playing against an AP top, start Spirit Visage. The 20% increased healing makes Chosen of the Storm even stronger than it already is. This will be your primary source of magic resist along with Mercury's Treads. Even if the enemy team was full AD, I'd still take Spirit Visage for the increased healing.
|After the bonus movement speed from Boots of Swiftness was reduced from 60 to 55, Mercury's Treads have become the better purchase in virtually every scenario. They are the only other item in your build that provides magic resist, and the tenacity it provides is very valuable in teamfights. If the enemy team is all AD, Ninja Tabi would be an acceptable replacement.|
|Warmog's Armor will give you the most health flat out of any item. The passive on this item allows you to regain all your health in a matter of seconds after a teamfight. Now that it provides CDR, I actually end up getting this as my third item in most cases. The base health regen it provides is fantastic, and synergizes well with Spirit Visage.|
|Titanic Hydra is the one dedicated damage item that you can build on Volibear, as it boosts your overall health, and make your auto attack damage increase as your max health increases. If I am ahead, I will get this as my third item, but most of the time this will be the last item I get. If my team has a lot of damage and I am the only real tank, then I will forgo this item for something else.|
|This item is extremely strong on Volibear, and I always get this as either my third or fourth item. It provides a good amount of health and armor, but the passive allows you to build up a lot of speed before fights, which makes it a lot easier to get on an enemy carry, and then stick to them with the small slow it applies.|
|Randuin's Omen is very strong against teams with fed ADCs or teams with more than one auto-attack based champion (an ADC and someone like Master Yi or Tryndamere). The active is also nice, as you can use it after the slow from Majestic Roar wears off.|
|Frozen Mallet is actually very underrated on a lot of melee champions. Every single auto attack you land will slow your target by 40% for 1.5 seconds, which is great for chasing down and sticking to enemies. Frozen Mallet also provides the most health of an item besides Warmog's Armor, and you can usually use the two interchangeably depending on what you prefer.|
|I really only get this item when I am behind, since it is relatively cheap compared to a lot of other items on this list. The shield you get with this item is nice, but it doesn't affect your maximum health for Frenzy or Chosen of the Storm.|
|Thornmail is a pretty situational item, and should really only be bought when the enemy team has a fed or scaling ADC like Vayne, Kog'Maw, or Jinx. Thornmail doesn't give an extra bonus health, which is core on Volibear, so be very conscious when deciding to pick this item.|
Tips to remember when playing Volibear
Once all your abilities are ready to use, you should be looking for opportunities to start a fight. The best times do so are after an enemy has just used an important ability (like after Darius uses Decimate on a minion wave). When you're ready to engage, use Rolling Thunder to flip your opponent, then immediately activate Thunder Claws and begin auto attacking. When they start to run away, use Majestic Roar to slow them. It is important to constantly reposition yourself in front of your enemy after each auto attack, so you can get as many as you can off on your opponent. Finally, once you have done as much damage as you can do with your auto attacks, use Frenzy to execute the enemy. A rule of thumb I go by is to use Frenzy when my opponent is down to around 15-20% health. If they have a lot of max health, then I would wait till they are a bit lower, and if they are squishier, then I would wait till they are at about 25 or even 30% health.
Teamfighting with Volibear
Always be on the look out to use your ultimate engage combo if a carry is caught out; Flash + Rolling Thunder. This combo is a perfect setup to begin a teamfight, as the enemy carry will be in range of the rest of your team.
Thank you for reading my guide. Pls vote and comment as I will respond to any and all criticism or feedback. Also, check out my updated Warwick top guide, here.