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Warwick Build Guide by FirionDarklight

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.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author FirionDarklight

Lanewick the versatile sustained solo top.

FirionDarklight Last updated on April 14, 2012
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hello guys. I am Firion Darklight and this is my Warwick guide. While Warwick is known as a jungler, he excels at solo top as well and this will be the focus of this guide. Since this is my first guide, go easy on me. Any feedback from you in order to improve this guide is welcome. I hope it turns out to be useful.

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Abbreviated terms

AA = Auto-attack (Basic Attacks)
CC = Crowd Control (Stun, fear, slow, snare, etc)
FB = First Blood
AP = Ability Power
AD = Attack Damage
MD = Magic Damage
AS = Attack Speed
MS = Movement Speed
MR = Magic Resistance
ArPen = Armor Penetration
MPen = Magic Penetration
LS = Life Steal
SV = Spell Vamp
DPS = Strong Auto-attacker
MDPS = Strong spells; casters
CDR = Cooldown Reduction
OOM = Out of Mana
MP = Mana
HP = Health
MP Regen = Mana Regeneration per 5 seconds
HP Regen = Health Regeneration per 5 seconds

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Builds found in this guide

This guide focuses on 3 builds:

  • The first one is Warwick as a tanky dps with an emphasis given to on-hit effects.

  • The second one is an offtank Warwick build, designed to give Warwick the tankiness he needs to initiate team fights and serve as the team's tank, while still giving the enemy team a reason to focus him.

  • The third one is a full bruiser Warwick build which takes advantage of the AS steroid buff of Hunters Call and life steal(granted from Eternal Thirst and items) to turn Warwick into a formidable duelist and damage dealer based on auto attacks.

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Pros / Cons


+ Crazy sustain.
+ A small number of bad match ups.
+ Very versatile.
+ Becomes dangerous when geared.
+ Hunters Call is an incredible AS steroid for both you and your team.
+ Great initiator.


- Item/farm dependant.
- Ignite makes you cry.
- Infinite Duress can be interrupted by hard CC and CC removal effects like Cleanse.
- Can easily be kited.
- No gap closing skill(with the exception of his ultimate).

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This setup is chosen with tanky dps Warwick in mind with emphasis on damage from on-hit effects. First of all, get Summoner's Wrath for the improved Exhaust/ Ignite. You want 3 points in
Brute Force since your main harass consists of auto attacks. We also take one point in Butcher to make farming a little easier. 4 Points into Alacrity will increase a little the rate at which you heal using auto attacks and since most of your damage(using this build) is magic, you need to fetch Arcane Knowledge . Demolitionist in combination with Hunters Call allows you to take out turrets faster. Havoc is chosen in order to increase your overall damage output. Vampirism ,combined with your Eternal Thirst, increases your sustain to a great degree. Finally, the 3 points in Hardiness and Resistance combined with Tough Skin make sure that you get some extra survivability during early game.


This setup is for offtank Warwick with emphasis on tank. We take 3 points in Brute Force again for some extra damage output which along with 1 point in Butcher will make last hitting minions easier. Again, we invest 1 point into Arcane Knowledge for the magic penetration bonus. We max both Resistance and Hardiness for the extra armor and magic resist which along with our rune setup offer good survivabilty. Then we take Tough Skin for the reduced damage of minions(and the damage it returns to them), mainly because our main harrasing consists of auto attacks(that result in getting aggro from minions). Since you are an offtank, you will need the extra health from Durability , Veteran's Scars and Juggernaut (which also reduces the duration of CC). The reduced armor to enemy turrets that Siege Commander offers, will help your team to take out turrets faster. Finally, we take Honor Guard for some extra tankiness and Initiator for the extra movement speed which is always nice.


The setup for full bruiser Warwick. First of all, we need the improved Exhaust/ Ignite so we take Summoner's Wrath . We take Brute Force for the extra attack damage and Butcher for a little bit easier farming. Since this is a build based around auto attacks, we need the extra armor penetration that Weapon Expertise provides. Again, we fetch Demolitionist which, when combined with Hunters Call (at rank 2 or 3), turns Warwick into a turret destroyer. We max Havoc for the extra damage and Vampirism for the extra sustain it provides. Sunder and Executioner increase our damage output a little more. Finally we invest into Resistance , Hardiness and Tough Skin for some extra survivability.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration



Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Lethality

Other choices

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Summoner Spells

: Always take this as its utility is so good. You can use this to escape/chase through a wall, to get closer to initiate with your ultimate and the list goes on.

: Take this if you think that you are against a hard opponent and you will need to recall often. This is mostly a spell you take when you play offtank Warwick since your damage output isn't that high and you need to play a little safe. It also offers great map control, since you can teleport to a ward/lane to help your teammates, so do not take this spell lightly.

: This my most standard selection along with Flash, since it can be used both offensively(ie when fighting a 1vs1 or when chasing) and defensively(ie to help yourself or an ally to escape an enemy).

: Another good choice if you want the extra damage that Ignite provides you or if the enemy team has champions like Dr. Mundo.

: You can take this as a substitute to Flash, but on the other hand, if you can't escape/catch an enemy using Flash then Ghost won't help.

In my opinion, those are the only considerable choices for a solo top Warwick and all other summoner spells are wasted on him.

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Skill Explanation

Eternal Thirst: This is pretty much one of the reasons that Warwick has a good sustain in lane(the other being Hungering Strike). With each auto-attack you replenish some hp. So, attack minions to restore some health.

Hungering Strike: This is your bread and butter skill. Use it to fill up some life and to harass during exchanges with the enemy.

For tanky dps Warwick and offtank Warwick, you're going to want to max Hungering Strike before Hunters Call and leave Blood Scent for last.

If you are following the 3rd build, then before level 6 Hungering Strike is given priority over Hunters Call and after level 6 Hungering Strike becomes the second skill you want to max.

Tips and Tricks
  • Always wait before using it in solo top exchanges, in order to take advantage of its health replinishing as much as possibe and then follow with Hunters Call and auto attacks.
  • Don't spam it in early game or you are bound to run out of mana soon.
  • In team fights/duels use it as often as possible.

Hunters Call: This is your AS buff which also buffs your team. Considering that it increases your attack speed, it increases the rate at which you gain health from Eternal Thirst as well.

In the case of tanky dps and offtank Warwick, this ability is maxed second.

On full bruiser Warwick, this ability is given low priority before level 6 and maxed first after level 6.

Tips and Tricks
  • Always activate Hunters Call when you dish it out with a melee opponent on top. In combination with Hungering Strike it will keep your health at manageable levels.
  • Activate it at the start of a team fight to buff your team and after that use it as often as possible.
  • This is your main extra AS source when playing full bruiser Warwick.

Blood Scent: A great skill for chasing dying enemies that flee, with a good range at max rank. Note that since this is a toggle skill, you can turn it on and off.

This is the ability you always max last.

Tips and Tricks
  • Sometimes, it is wise to turn it off since it can alert the enemy team to your presence.
  • It can be used for both chasing and escaping.
  • Always turn it on when a fight starts so you can chase an enemy in case they flee.
  • If you are certain of the location the enemy, that you are hunting down with this skill, is heading, turn Hunters Call off in order to make them drop their guard.

Infinite Duress: This is a great ultimate all in all. It gives you a great amount of health back as well as dealing great damage and suppressing the enemy, while serving as a good initiation skill. This skill also synergizes with on-hit effects like Wit's End, The Black Cleaver etc, giving a full stack of each if Infinite Duress isn't interrupted.

Get a point in this whenever possible.

Tips and Tricks
  • Don't use it if you are afflicted with Ignite.
  • Try to catch an enemy who is out of position with it, in order to give your team the advantage.
  • Always use it either on the AD carry, the AP carry or the Support in this priority order.
  • In a 1vs1 confrontation, this skill can give you the upper hand.
  • With proper team coordination, this skill can be used to tower dive.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

This is the setup you follow with the 1st or the 2nd build. Since priority is given on the damage that Infinite Duress deals in combination with on-hit effects, this is the outline to be followed for leveling up :
> > >

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

The setup for full bruiser Warwick (build #3). At early game, you need the sustain that Hungering Strike provides, but after level 6 you must max out Hunters Call immediately, since this is what will increase your dps along with your AD items.

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Note that Doran's Ring is the starting item for all 3 builds, for the health it provides and the mana regeneration. Alternatively, all 3 builds can start with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion.

After Boots of Speed, fetch Wriggle's Lantern since it will increase your survivability and sustain in lane. Get Sorcerer's Shoes, since magic penetration is what you will need with this build. Then get Phage for the slow debuff and the extra health. Getting Wit's End will increase your dps and it pretty much increases the damage of Infinite Duress too, while providing some magic resist as well. After this, it's time to get Frozen Mallet in order to increase your survivability.
After Frozen Mallet things get a little situational.
Do you need to do more damage and want to melt their AD carry with your Infinite Duress?
Then fetch The Black Cleaver.
Is the enemy stacking hp?
Get Madred's Bloodrazor.
Get whichever you didn't get and finally build a Guardian Angel.

Since you are going to be the offtank(mostly tank) of your team, get Mercury's Treads which will reduce the duration of CC and magic damage as well. Then purchase Sunfire Cape, for the extra health and its passive that works well with Infinite Duress. After those items, the order in which your purchase everything else varies.
If you need extra survivability, buy Guardian Angel and Banshee's Veil in the order that suits your needs(ie if you need more magic resist get Banshee's Veil first).
If your enemy stacks hp, then you want to buy Madred's Bloodrazor first.
Finally buy whatever you didn't buy first.

This a bruiser build for Warwick but it's kind of experimental, so any advices on how to improve it is welcome. On to the description. First of all, get Wriggle's Lantern for the extra sustain in lane and the free ward. Then, fetch Berserker's Greaves for the AS bonus. Time for you to get your damage items. The Bloodthirster will increase your dps and its lifesteal stacks with your passive and your ultimate. Infinity Edge is the second damage item you will need and it will turn you into a carry of sorts. After those 2, you will need to gather some survivability. Frozen Mallet and Guardian Angel fill this role well. Finally, buy your Phantom Dancer which will make critical strikes land way more often and combined with your Hunters Call, you will reach almost 2.5 AS.

Other items to consider

Randuin's Omen : Consider purchasing this on the 1st or 2nd build, if you feel that you need the extra health,HP regen and armor. A good item for tanky characters with an amazing passive to boot.

Force of Nature : If the enemy team is AP heavy(ie has many mages), you can buy this instead of one defensive items i have listed. In combination with Spirit Visage your HP regeneration rate will be amazingly high.

Spirit Visage : Unless you have increased HP regeneration and much lifesteal as well, don't buy this item. I have experimented with it, using The Bloodthirster and Hungering Strike, but with the exception of Infinite Duress, this item doesn't pay off that well. But if you really have that much HP regeneration and lifesteal, it can be a welcome addition. Also, along with Frozen Heart and Arcane Knowledge you gain 40% CDR, so it can come handy in times .

Malady : I once considered getting this item on Warwick, but it really isn't a worth substitute to any of the other items included in your build.

Warmog's Armor : You are not a tanky dps(not a traditional one anyways), but if you feel that you need to get more health, get this in the place of one of your defensive items.

Atma's Impaler : If you are in need of extra damage as offtank Warwick and/or have purchased Warmog's Armor, get this item. Note that for this item to pay off its cost, you should have hp>=3000.

Frozen Heart : Another good defensive item with the highest armor gain and an amazing passive. If you need the extra armor,the CDR and an amazing debuff for the enemy team, by all means get this.

Ionic Spark : This item grants you some extra health, gives your Infinite Duress a small AOE potential and the AS bonus is great. However, it comes in handy in rare situations and pales in comparison to the other alternatives. Be cautious about whether you need this or not.

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Early game

Grab your Doran's Ring or your Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion (depending on your opponent's top, choose accordingly). Focus on farming and should the enemy engage you, use Hungering Strike and Hunters Call to bring the fight to them. After they retreat, attack creeps in order to get some life back. Always remember that top lane is a war of attrition, so exchanges with the enemy will and should be expected. Don't be afraid to fight unless the odds are in favor of your enemy. Try to keep your opponent away from the minions as much as possible. Once you get to level 6, coordinate a gank with your jungler, using your Infinite Duress as a setup. By following the above, you should either get a kill or two or at least make your opponent recall to base, making them lose valuable experience and gold in the process. Use their absence as an opportunity to gank the mid lane(or the jungler,with the help of the mid lane, if you are aware of his/her current position) and essentially gain an advantage in experience and gold by either securing a kill or by making the enemy mid lane or enemy jungler retreating to base. If you are having difficulties at top, do not hesitate to ask help from your jungler(you should however note that the jungler's job is to help lanes and not babysit them. So don't ask for help all the time and don't blame your jungler if you are losing your lane even after a gank). Be on the alert for ganks from the enemy jungler and make sure you ward your lane(for more details on wards check the "Wards and you" section of this guide).

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Mid Game

By now, maybe a turret or two(from both teams) have fallen. This is the phase where you team starts to roam in order to secure some map objectives(dragon,enemy red/blue buff) or obtain some kills. If you have broken the top turret and/or the enemy top lane isn't there, feel free to roam and help either bot or mid lane to get kills/turrets or try contesting dragon with your team. Keep in mind that strength comes in numbers and that you should be careful and not wander alone. Try to secure some kills for your teammates using Infinite Duress and always help them out.

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Late game

The part of the game where it is clear who the dominant team is. Expect many team fights to come. This is the phase where baron should be warded at all times and should your team score 1-2 kills, seize the opportunity to claim baron for yourselves. If the enemy team is trying to secure baron, ambush them, kill them and take baron. Don't stray away from your team for any reason. You are one of the main initiators and as a result you should be one of the champions in the front, leading your team. After getting some kills and/or baron, push to the enemy base with your team or even ignore the minions all together and take out the enemy turret and the inhibitor. This should give your team some breathing space, so go on and take the enemy red and blue buffs and dragon, if they are alive, and any top/bottom turret that is before the inhibitor turrets. All of this combined together, will lead to the defeat of the enemy team.

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Your role in team fights

When it comes to team fights, you should be in the front lines, initiating on the enemy carry or on an enemy that is out of position or away from his team. This is the order in which you must take targets out in team fights (in descending order) :

  • ranged AD carry
  • AP carry
  • support
  • bruiser/2nd AP carry
  • tank

Should anyone of the enemy team run away from the team fight while everyone else stays, don't chase after him but focus on the next target (based on the priority list i gave above). Chasing after a fleeing enemy while his team is on you, can result in many loses on your team's side.

While you and your team are sieging a turret, should an enemy get out of position, use Infinite Duress to take him out. In general, if your team is coordinated Infinite Duress is a great tool for turret diving(assuming that you suppress the correct target and not a tanky character for example).

Always initiate on the target that your team wants to take out, with Infinite Duress and kill him/her immediately. Alternatively you could save Infinite Duress in the case that the target tries to escape.
Do not forget to buff your team with Hunters Call and spam Hungering Strike as much as possible. Also protect your AD carry at all costs. If the enemy team takes it out, you just lost one of your main damage dealers and the scales just turned to the enemies' favor.
Take advantage of your Blood Scent to hunt down anyone that is left alive and running(after the team fight is over).

Finally, make sure that you and your main tank(or tanky bruiser depending on your build and lane set up) lead the team to battles in order to minimize any potential dangers for your more squishy teammates.

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Wards and you (a must read)

One common mistake you might see in games is either leaving all the warding to the support or not even warding at all. This is a grave mistake. Map awareness is essential and the team with a better grasp of it will win the game. Think of wards as an in-game hack that only costs 75 gold(about 3-4 minions). Make sure you buy at least one ward when you get back to base. While your support will be buying many wards, each team member, with the exception of the carry, should get a ward or two every time they recall back to base. Make this your motto: "buy a ward, stop a gank, save a life."

Below i will explain the basics of warding(using pictures i took and edited). For a more detailed guide on warding refer to Nihma's guide .

First of all this is a basic outline of the places you usually ward(taken from Nihma's guide):

You must use wards to cover as many ways as possible and therefore use them to their fullest. Below i will show you some basic warding spots and the directions they cover as well.

Let's start with the most important : Dragon and Baron.

Try to place the ward far from the dragon so you can cover the entrance of the jungle as well. That way you cover as much pathways as possible. The dragon should be always warded since the gold advantage it provides to the team that gets it, is way too important to ignore.

Baron should always be warded as well since he is the most important map objective. Don't place the ward near him but at the maximum distance, as a way of utilizing the ward to its fullest.

Now let's the see wards you will be placing as a top lane.

By combining this ward

with this one

you will be able to avoid any ganks(with the small exception of stealth characters, but you rarely seem them nowadays) and farm safely at top. This way, the only thing you will have to worry about is farming and denying your opponent experience.

Other important wards are the ones covering secondary objectives like the enemy red and blue buffs and they are detailed below.

Be sure to place the ward at the far end of the brush or else you might not be able to see the red buff.

The ward for the blue buff should be placed in the brush. By doing that, you cover 6 ways and you can always attempt to safely steal the blue buff with some backup from your team.

You should also ward this path to keep track of any enemies that might try to come from bottom(should you try to steal their blue buff).

Be on the alert if the enemy has a strong counter jungler(like Shaco, Shyvana etc). You can help your jungler by having your team ward those key locations :

This way, you can monitor all possible entrances that the enemy jungler can use to invade your jungle. With the exception of Shaco and Twitch(who is rarely seen at all), you can pretty much catch any counter jungler who tries to get in your jungle and take him out.

Finally, i will show you two basic warding techniques that can cover a good amount of the map, using two wards.

By using one ward near wraiths and one ward near the red buff in the enemies' jungle, you cover a big area of the map and can keep track of the enemy jungler as well and gank him if the opportunity arrives, using the mid and top lane to coordinate an invasion.

Those 2 warding spots along with the ward placed in the enemy blue(and the other one near the bottom right) can help you take dragon pretty safely and also if the enemy mid heads to the blue buff, your mid lane will take notice and can attempt to steal it(with or without help from the bottom lane), if you(the team) feel that you can do it safely.

Important note : While i have used Sight Wards in the baron and dragon screenshots, your team should always ward baron and dragon with Vision Wards or at least make the support get an Oracle's Elixir in order to detect and destroy the wards that the enemy team places there. Also in the case your team is on the purple side, the way wards are placed is symmetrical to the center of the map.

This concludes my guidelines to warding and my Warwick guide in general. Head out to the fields of justice and prevail over your adversaries. Just don't forget to buy wards.

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Credits/Final Words

First of, all let me give credits to jhoijhoi for her awesome "How to make a guide" guide(and the red lines i used in the masteries' section). Finally, credits go to Nihma for his awesome warding guide which along with my warding outlines/techniques should give you a basic grasp of the importance and usefulness of wards.
Without those 2, this guide would be incomplete, so make sure to rep+ them.
Finally, please rate and comment this guide and provide some feedback as to what to change and/or improve.

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To be added soon

+ Match-ups section (what to do against which champs).
+ A clean up/modification of the 3rd build.
+ Clean up/tidying of various existing chapters.
+ Editing the builds based on feedback and testing.