Warwick Build Guide by betazoid
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.
Yo back with my another build for an old favourite: Warwick or WW (as he is widely known) was one of the very first champions I used and due to my general noobiness I had absolutely no clue how to jungle. As far as I was concerned those golems were hardcore :( As such I used WW as I would any other champion; in a lane.
New players to WW will most likely first notice his excellent self-sustainability which is due to his passive Eternal Thirst and Hungering Strike (his Q). These abilities are also the reasons for warwick's wide use as a jungler. In this guide however, I am seeking to both; offer seasoned LOL and WW players (ie: the haters) an enjoyable AND viable alternative and convert newer League of Legends players in the hope of updating (what I believe to be) the current stagnant playstyle and perception of Warwick.
First of all I would just like to weed out a few errors made by many WW players:
1. Warwick is NOT an AD (attack damage) champion!!! Now many of you may begin using ww and notice his W ( Hunters Call) greatly increases his attack speed (AS) and that of those friendlies around him. This, in combination with the Berserker's Greaves being the first cab-off-the-rank item from the recommended items list leads many players to assume Warwick is an AD carry beast. WRONG I too once thought this was the case, however you will find that you will increasingly become the focus of enemy teams. This is exactly the opposite to what you want to happen, your strength lies in your ults ability Infinite Duress to completely shut down the opposing team's carry. In order to maximise this ability you firstly need to learn to time that ultimate and then build to survive any interuptions to your ult.
2. Even if you find you are dominating your lane opponent, DO NOT assume that you are now a carry and can initiate a later team fight whenever you have enough time to press 'R' on your keyboard! This will pretty much result in you getting dominated by all kinds of stuns, silences and knock-ups which is invariably followed by your teammates screwing you over by running away like they should do. Rather, your best bet in a team-fight is to bide your time out of sight waiting for an opportunity to take out that enemy carry with Infinite Duress. The best combinations include: Galio's ultimate Idol of Durand, Amumu's ultimate Curse of the Sad Mummy and even Gragas ultimate Explosive Cask.
3. Whilst Warwick is not an AD champion, this does not make him an ability power (AP) champ either. Along with his natural life-steal abilities, the mix of AP and AD damage is what makes WW such an excellent 1v1 player. That is, due to warwick's ability to deal significant physical and magic damage, enemy champions would have to build both armor and magic resist items in order to fully negate his damage output. As such I don't want to see anyone thinking this guide is for AP WW due to the rune and mastery setups, those are tuned to maximise your main source of damage during the laning phase Hungering Strike which relies on magic penetration rather than actual AP. The reason I say this is due to the % of maximum health which hungering stike does as damage. Building AP items won't help your survivability mid-to-late game nor is it the most effective method of maximising your damage output.
With those common mis-conceptions out of the way, its time to explain my rationale for lane Warwick. By maxing Hungering Strike first, WW has a strong damage output (deals percentage of max health - this means tanks and squishies alike have just as much reason to be cautious) which comes along with massive spell vamp at such an early stage of the game (only Morgana has close to that sort of early sustain). Now many of you may question as to why no points are allocated to Hunters Call till Hungering Strike and Blood Scent are maxed. Well, during the early levels I cannot think of any situation (one that will turn out well) where you should be actively seeking to stand stationary and fight your lane opponents using the increased AS from Hunters Call. Rather, by investing those points into Blood Scent when a lane enemy falls below 50% health you suddenly become super-saiyan. That is, your movement speed will be increased to the point that no-one will be able to either catch you (minus stuns, slows, etc) nor escape from you.
My general play-style in the lane can be described as a harrassing AP caster. That is, you should be constantly seeking to use your Q ( Hungering Strike) on the most vulnerable/squishiest lane opponent. If the enemy is ranged ad or ap and are harassing you also, the spell vamp returned from a single Hungering Strike negates much of such damage. Furthermore, any chance you get you should be looking to further supplement your lane stay-ability (yes that's a word xD) (and thus ability to continue whittling down your opponent's HP bar) by using your passive Eternal Thirst. This is best achieved by hitting a single minion (the same target) 3 times. Why 3 times you may ask? Warwick's passive returns to him increasing amounts of health for each successive basic attack, up to 3 stacks. Do not feel, however, that you must hit a creep 3 times as quickly as possible as each stack lasts up to 4 seconds.
The offensive mastery tree is most worthwhile for Warwick, namely the extra AP magic penetration. Expanding down this tree is your best bet as without early AP you won't do any damage or consequently return as much HP.
The defensive tree can work if your lane opponent is going full turtle or your team desperately needs you to be the tank. The extra armor, magic resist, health regen and health bonuses are taken to maximise your sustain in the early lane.
The utility branch of masteries can also be similarly useful in certain (if limited) situations. The mana regeneration and movement-speed can improve both your early and late game respectively.
Magic penetration and flat AP. I can't stress the usefulness of these types of runes enough for not only the early extra damage it will provide you but later on the magic pen is really going to take over in terms of significance.
In order to maximise Warwick's effectiveness you must resist the urge to take out that tasty-looking cocky-*** Ezreal (or Ashe, Graves, Caitlyn, Kog'Maw etc) with Infinite Duress late game). Rather, you should play to your strengths which lie in your ability to completely remove your team's primary focus from a team-fight by timing your ultimate and not initiating. To maximise this fairly unique ability defense is your best form of offense and flat armor seals provide extra early game defence in line with your mastery setup. Solo top will most likely throw at your more AD champions than AP’s hence these are more useful than magic resist. Glyphs are also a bit of a no-brainer, with flat magic resist being your best bet in case of early ganks from an AP jungler or mixed damage (or even purely AP) solo-top champions. Most of your trouble as Warwick during teamfights will come from AP carries rather than AD as WW excels in melee situations. For example, a fed Miss Fortune is going to be trying her hardest to stay away from you and if she does pay too much attention to you she will fall to someone with far more damage (i.e. your carry). A Brand conversely won’t think twice about unleashing his CC on you in an effort to protect himself, and the majority of CC that can hurt you (stuns, silences, knock ups etc) will come from AP’s.
Alternative runes include: flat cooldown reduction glyphs, flat cooldown reduction seals, cooldown reduction quintessences and movement speed quintessences.
As a rule I always take Flash as it provides great escape and chase opportunities, especially to set up your ultimate or escape a bad decision to ult someone. Personally I take Ignite for early kills (no enemy shall ever escape again with 20HP left!!) and becomes quite handy late game when you want start becoming Tryndamere's, other Warwick's and Vladimir's nightmare (or any other The Bloodthirster/ Will of the Ancients wielding carries). My personal favourite is to use my ultimate on a Kog'Maw then ignite him and watch the fireworks display that follows (ie: Icathian Surprise).
Useful alternatives include Exhaust, Ghost and even Teleport if you feel like it. Everything else is fairly useless for Warwick.
Pro's and Con's
Built-in life steal
Hybrid damage potential
Reliant on decent teammates
Poor farmer early levels
Reliant on ultimate
By starting with the Doran's Ring, you receive a sizeable amount of health (100HP) for early survivability, a little AP (15AP) and a dash of mana regen (3 mana points per 5 seconds). These are pretty much the 3 things you want early for lane WW.
Follow by grabbing your mercury treads, despite what it shows in the above graphics I just made it later than wit’s end and Malady so to keep the final 6 items highlighted. In combination with the 21 points in the defensive tree, merc treads are going to significantly reduce the time spent stunned, silenced etc which is the biggest threat to Warwick (interrupting your passive sustain). The synergy between Malady and Wit's End lies in their unique passives, along with their relative cheapness and their attack speed boosts, which is more important for WW (in line with his passive) than pure attack damage. As such, items such as these which provide attack speed and hit-on effects are very useful for WW. On a side note I thought i'd explain the difference between the two: Wit's End increases your magic resist per hit, whilst Malady lowers your opponent's magic resist per hit with both dealing magic damage in addition to your basic AD attacks. Most importantly, your ultimate will apply these on-hit effects!!!
AD HEAVY TEAM
If you find yourself up against an AD heavy team (ie: Tryndamere, Graves, Caitlyn etc) once you build Malady and Wit's End your best bet is to rush both health and a Thornmail. This will basically dissuade most fed AD carries from looking at you twice. Worthwhile alternatives include: Randuin's Omen which decrepifies your AD opponents with its awesome active ability! Sunfire Cape (good but not great), Frozen Heart (very useful in that it provides even more cooldown reduction with a cool unique passive) and Guardian Angel (very useful, however in some situations can be fairly useless) are also viable alternatives when facing fed AD carries. As I mentioned previously, WW (most of the time unless massively fed) is best played when built situationally. That is, build yourself to fill the role your team needs the most (most commonly an off-tank-squishy-hunting-bruiser) in a manner that best combats the set-up of the enemy team as well.
AP HEAVY TEAM
Again, once you have acquired your core items begin helping out your team by building up some serious magical resistance. Force of Nature provides not only great magic resist, but also some extra movement speed and health regen (% based of max health) which when combined with Warmog's Armor forms an excellent combination. Banshee's Veil is my personal preference for Warwick in that you will ignore interruptions (stuns, etc.) which are bound to occur during your ultimate. Alternatives include Guardian Angel (and again, assess the situation for this item) and Quicksilver Sash (an excellent item if you know how to time and use it as it will remove many current de-buffs).
ITEMS I CANNOT RECOMMEND
First off Spirit Visage....if any of you have read my Vladimir guide you will know how much I despise seeing people wasting time and more importantly gold. Sure it might enhance your passive and reduce cooldowns, but its far more suited for a jungling WW who doesn’t have lane opponents to constantly deal with. All in all it is a filler item inferior to many other defensive items offering magic resist (the cooldown reduction is useless considering the 36% you will have). Boots-wise, Ionian Boots of Lucidity may seem a good idea but cooldown reduction is taken care of with your masteries and rune setups. Berserker's Greaves are just terrible as with Hunters Call, Madred's Bloodrazor, Malady and Wit's End will provide you with enough attack speed to keep yourself sustained. Finally, another reminder not to stack pure AD or AP items as you are not a carry!
Why not rush Madred's Bloodrazor first like all the other Warwick's?
Now, whilst madred's bloodrzor is probably your best core item in terms of hit-on effects for your ultimate etc., it is simultaneously expensive. Like all other great items. An early Malady is cheap, effective and you will notice the buff it provides for your ultimate from rank 1. Wit's End is also relatively cheap and by this time not only will your AS will be very high (and thus more magic damage from the hit-on effects of Malady and Wit's End) but your ult will also be shredding (stolen from Malady's description itself xD) your opponents magic resist, whilst raising your own (hence more survivability). Late game you can swap over these items for Madred's Bloodrazor when you have enough gold as a luxury item.
Thanks for reading :) If there is anything I missed or some information is misplaced please comment below. All questions regarding items, runes, etc are also of course welcomed!!! Next up is my guide to playing Malzahar...