Build Guide by The Ground Below
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Not Updated For Current Season
I have seen more terrible Warwick builds than I can count. To this end I have included as much information on how to actually play Warwick as I can.
AS A NOTE: I feel that AD Warwick is terrible (does not work with your ult as effectively as on-hit effects). While AP Warwick has ridiculous Hungering Strikes I feel that this build is simply better and makes more effective use of his skills.
This build focuses on maximizing jungling speed and efficiency to the most experience from the jungle and time ganking in the lanes.
In this section I will go over the above items and the rationale behind them and then cover some options for the sixth item slot.
1. Cloth Armor, 2 Health Potions and a Sight Ward. I feel this is pretty self-explanatory. You do not need more health pots so do not bother. The ward can go in your jungle to prevent a gank/counter-jungle, in the enemy jungle to set up a gank/counter-jungle, or at dragon. All of these are legitimate and appropriate uses for a vision ward.
2. Madred's Talons well this is pretty obvious. This lets you kill creeps really fast. It also allows you to take dragon at 7 (though I usually wait until 8 if I am doing it alone).
3. Mercury's Treads are the best boots in the game and you want to build tanky. So these boots seem like a good choice. Ninja tabi are an option against a team of AD carries. I wouldn't buy offensive boots, but I suppose Sorcoror's Shoes would be the best offensive boots as you are about to start doing lots of magic damage. Honestly I always buy merc's unless I am against 5 AD carries. I played a game against 4 AD carries and still bought merc's treads.
4. Pickaxe is for some more damage to gank.
5. Catalyst of the Protector is for some survivability and to expend your undersized mana pool a bit.
6. Madred's Bloodrazor is great on Warwick since his ult applies on hit effects (without scaling, which is why AD WW is terribad). Also lets you kill tanks and attack quickly to helps your pssive.
7. Banshee's Veil is a great defensive item. If the enemy team is physical heavy, finish GA before finishing this. Alternatively against an almost purely physical team you can simply buy a Thornmail
8. Chain Vest since by this point Madred's Bloodrazor and Greater Seal of Armor won't be enough. So this should give you armor. In fact that is all it will give you. Plus it builds into great stuff later.
9. Wit's End makes you hurt a lot. Your ult will do lots of damage. Once you have this you can solo baron with blue (it will take a while. I recommend drinking an Elixer of Brilliance and taking some Health Potions and a Vision Ward to stay alive).
10. Guardian Angel is for armor and the general ability to not die. As I said this item can come earlier as needed but I generally feel this to be the appropriate spot for the item.
Now to fill the open slots:
1. Thornmail. I wind up building this item a lot. Good against AD-heavy teams.
2. Force of Nature. This guide is heavy on the magic-resist (this is good, I think) but if you need even more, this is your guy.
3. Quicksilver Sash This is an item I have never built on Warwick, but there having a cleanse for free is good.
4. Sunfire Cape is an option as well. This lets you get survivablity and a bit of damage. In general I prefer to stack reistances rather than health not just because it is mathematically better for adding tankiness late game (though it is) but because of Warwick's large amount of self-heal. This health counting for more is good.
5. Abyssal Scepter This adds to your damage and gives you over 9,000 magic resistance.
1. Malady No one likes it when their opponents have too much magic resistance. Generally increases the amount of damage you do. This is probably the best offensive option in this list by far.
2. The Bloodthirster You have only bought AD with Madred's, so a little more is alright I suppose. I personally would not buy this item, but it is a solid option.
3. Hextech Gunblade This is untested, but it seems very good. I love the active and all the stats are relevant to Warwick.
4. Void Staff This will help your Madred's Bloodrazor actually damage that tank with over 9,00 magic resistance (brings 9,000MR to 5,400MR).
6. Infinity Edge This is the most efficient source of damage in the game and with all of your attack speed killing towers will be easy. Remember that AD Warwick is bad.
7. Sword of the Occult Want to start stacking? This is an option.
8. Magi's Soulstealer Same as above, but this takes advantage of the 1-1 scaling on your Hungering Strike. I probably wouldn't bother with this though.
9. Last Whisper This item is great is high-armor situations. Great against Rammus and Malphite.
WHAT NOT TO WEAR:
Warmogs Armor. Seriously this item is terrible and people should stop buying it.
Solid AD Items: WTF! why are you nerfing your ult? You have 33% AD scaling on your ult and 100% scaling on on-hit effects. Also, on-hit items all add attack speed, which means your passive gives you more health.
Oh, and don't forget to be tanky or you will die. Also, don't forget to do lots of damage or you will die. Basically you should be totally awesome.
I highly recommend Flash and Smite.
You already have a situational ghost, so a second one simply is not as good. Flash is a better escape mechanism than ghost and lets you finish ganks well. Also, you can revive with Guardian Angel and flash over a wall. where you will die with ghost.
Smite makes your jungling much faster. This is a big theme with this guide so smite works.
Ghost, Exhaust, Ignite, and Clairvoyance. The suggested aside, these are the best in my opnion.
I feel it is necessary to justify this rune build but most specifically the use of AD marks.
The AD reds make you a really fast jungler. This gives you plenty of time to interact with the lanes without missing creap camps. While Armor Peneatration reds are better in some respects (late game damage) the damage is the ganking phase is better with AD reds and they work better with your ult and autoattacks in low-armor early ganks. Furthermore the best source of damage from marks would be magic penetration marks which make your jungling far to slow for my taste. To this end we use AD reds.
The Armor Yellows help you take significantly reduced damage while jungling and offset how MR-heavy the build is.
The AS blues & quint work well with the AD reds and WW's passive to increase jungling speed.
The 2 seemingly "random" Armor Pen quints are not random at all. The 6.66 Armor pen here combined with the six from the masteries gives 13 armor penetration. Nicely enough the little golems at the start have 13 armor. Most of the creeps in the jungle have 13 or less armor. The exception is blue and red buffs, however they will be brought to near-zero armor, so we win again here.
The 19/0/11 seems to give the best ganks and fastest jungling in my opinion and experience. The other option I used for a long time is the 9/0/21 caster setup, but I have good luck with the 19/0/11 setup.
The two points in Utility Mastery are essential in my opinion. The ability to maintain buffs keeps you both jungling your fastest and maximizes your ganking potential. This, of course, requires 10 points in the Utility tree. I tried 21/0/9 masteries and had both mana issues and a slower jungle.
Placing the rest in the offense tree gives more AD and the extra bit of armor penetration as discussed in the "runes" section. The AS and CDR both help as well. Overall I would say that points in Utility Mastery are more important than finishing the offense tree, and therefore we have the current setup.
General Jungling Tactics
First I will start with what not to do while jungling.
- Spend the whole time in the jungle. This barely helps your team.
- Refuse a request for a gank. Unless the enemy is hugging their tower you should not refuse a gank. I do not care if the gank is likely to get a kill, if you can simply make an emeny blue pill you have done your job.
- Spend too much time in a lane. Your job is to create an imbalance of experience and gold between the teams. Spending time in a lane does not do this (more on your job later).
- Forget about dragon
- Stop or dilly-dally
I want to say a few words on what a jungler is supposed to do. The reason that a jungler is a necessity in ranked games is this: more experience for your team. In order to win in League you have to create an imbalance of resources between teams. There are a number of ways to do this. One is an imbalance of gold, another is experience. To this end the jungler takes advantage of the unclaimed experience in the jungle and allows two solo lanes.
Another important note is on the purpose of ganks. People think (incorrectly) that ganks are solely about getting kills and look at kills as the primary way that junglers can increase the income of their teammates (excluding dragon, of course). However simply sending and enemy back gives your teammates the ability to farm freely. This can mean that your teammates hit levels first and can continue to dominate their lane to farm more effectively than their opponents and even deny them further experience. Staying in the lane after a gank minimizes this effect by dividing the experience into one more piece.
These imbalances are the reason for a jungler. As Warwick you should seek to create them. To aid in the this endeavor I have developed the fastest way of killing creeps to allow for more time to interact with the lanes.
Start at little golems, smite the first one and use Hunter's Call to kill it as quickly as possible. Do not use a health potion, you will be at about full health by the end.
Next is Wraiths. Start a potion just as you pass the far side of Red buff. Hungering Strike and Hunter's Call the large blue wraith to death. Kill the remaining wraiths with autoattacks and at most two Hungering Strike.
Next is wolves. Use a Hunter's Call to kill the large wolf and then autoattack the others. This saves your mana for Golem.
At golem, use a potion and a Hunter's Call to start. Hungering Strike as soon as the heal will not be wasted. Smite golem as soon as it is low enough, 569 HP I think.
After Golem wraiths won't be back for a while since you are far too fast at jungling. Go gank a lane or take little golems.
After little golems take red.
Gank. After the gank, either gank again or blue pill to get madreds and merc's treads. You should also place the starting ward at around this time.
If you are 7 you can take dragon with blue and a health pot. You can take it earlier with both buffs and madreds and a health potion. That said I like to wait until seven simply because you will go quite low earlier.
After this you should be ganking and taking convient creep camps between ganks. Try to keep blue up at all times, stealing one if the enemy has no jungler.
I have seen a lot of bad junglers who fail by not ganking enough.
When ganking with Warwick you should keep Blood Scent off until you have engaged. If blood scent shows up over the opponent's head they will run away and the gank is ruined.
You should ult on the one that is closest to your allies if only one is in range. If both are well within range of your allies ult the one with lower health.
If you do not have your ult (you absolutely should do ganks without your ult) you just run up to the enemy and Hungering Strike them and pop Hunter's Call and autoattack and enemy to death.
You should NOT initiate with your ult in a teamfight. You should hang back until the tank has fully initiated and then pop Hunter's Call and autoattack, using Hungering Strike whenever it is available.
Use your ult when there are 2-3 enemies left if your team has the upper hand. If possible use it to finish a carry. You can kill tanks all day.
If your team is losing you should not use your ult, you should retreat. Sometimes if the zoning works out right you can turn around a 3v2 if you can safely ult an enemy to death when the other surviving teammate is a tank. This is very rare and I actually would not mention it if I had not done it twice today. Basically retreat and turn works sometimes
This build was written April 22-23, 2011.
5/16/11: Published the guide. Oops.
5/17/11: Did some editing. Mostly grammar fixes, missing words and the like. Corrected the runes to reflect what I actually use and added a note about that in the runes section. Updated the "Wit's End" section.