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Volibear Build Guide by Phil Collins

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Phil Collins

Volibear: One Does Not Simply Kill an Armored Bear

Phil Collins Last updated on July 3, 2012
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Tanky DPS



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Jungle Role
Ranked #33 in
Jungle Role
Win 49%
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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: 8

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 1

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Good day my friends! And welcome to another guide made by yours truly, this time on our favorite fluffy bear Volibear. I enjoy the fact that you can build Volibear as full tank and still do damage, and having high sustain and damage steroids as well. This guide will focus on Top lane Volibear, I hope you enjoy.

Volibear Champion Spotlight:

Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.

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Pros / Cons


+ High durability
+ Huge nuke from Frenzy
+ Brutal ganks
+ Has many build paths
+ Great sustain through Chosen of the Storm
+ Not damage-item reliant

- Easily harassed
- Cannot fully fulfill the tank role
- Does not have a proper gap closer
- Lacks damage late-game if Thunder Claws is down.
- Burst damage can negate his passive
- Cannot stick to targets properly

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In the masteries, I try to maximize durability along with some damage.

Brute Force : It can help Volibear deal more damage.
Butcher : You won't be getting Summoner's Wrath anyway, so get this to help you last hit better.
Alacrity : It stacks with your Frenzy, enabling more attack speed.

Summoner's Resolve : For the improved heal, better heal-baits = win game.
Resistance : To help against the AP top lanes, which Volibear can have a problem against.
Hardiness : For more durability against physical champions.
Durability : Volibears Frenzy scales off health, this will help it.
Veteran's Scars : This will make you much more durable early game.
Indomitable : I know it doesn't look good on paper, but if a teamfight starts and you've got 5 guys hitting you, that mastery can reduce the damage by a lot.
Initiator : More movement speed for better ganks and mobility.
Enlightenment : This will help you with spamming your skills to assist teammates.
Juggernaut : This will help you immensely in tanking damage and CC reduction. It stacks with Mercury's Treads.

Summoner's Insight : The improved flash will help you escape more often.


These masteries are different from the previous one. As tank Volibear, utility is much more important than damage and we will focus on that.

Honor Guard : You will have max CDR in the build, so it will not make sense to get Enlightenment . Get this to help you tank damage.
Vigor : For the slight sustain.

Expanded Mind : This allows 1 or 2 more spells late game, it can make a difference.
Swiftness : More movement speed for better ganking and mobility.

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

This setup will give me lots of damage early game, synergizing with Frenzy's attack speed very well, while helping with tankiness.

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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells

I take these two spells most of the time. There were not much moments where I had to change these pairs. Flash is because it will save you from many situations. For example, escaping from a 4 man gank. You can also use it offensively to Rolling Thunder them into your team. Heal is because you can combine it with Chosen of the Storm to make a massive heal bait.
spaaaaaaace Flash

+ Versatile
+ Helps you escape
+ Closing gaps

- Short range
- Countered if enemy has Flash as well.
spaaaaaaace Heal

+ Great synergy with Chosen of the Storm
+ Enables panic defensive options
+ Able to save teammates

- Does not heal for much early on
- Countered by Ignite

Other options:

Rarely have I ever taken Ghost. You simply don't need it because you have a built in ghost through Rolling Thunder. Also, Volibear is not naturally tanky so he cannot make use of the movement speed unlike Olaf, etc. Feel free to take it if you think that stacking with Rolling Thunder is fun, or you just want better gap closing options.

Exhaust is a great spell for dueling. However I don't take it often as Volibear does not need the debuff, he can simply kill targets through burst in Frenzy. Take Exhaust if your team does not have any of it.

Take Teleport if you want absolute lane control, or you want better map control. If that is so, ask your teammates to ward the map so you can Teleport to it.

Good spell if you want to have more offensive options, or if their team have lots of heals. Feel free to take it.

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Ability Explanation

  • Chosen of the Storm:
    When Volibear's health drops below 30% of his maximum health, he will heal for 30% of his maximum health over the next 6 seconds. This passive effect has a 120 second cooldown.

    "Trust your instincts."

    This is a great ability for healing and lasting longer in fights. This just makes Volibear very effective when getting health items. Unlike champions like Udyr who prioritizes resistances, Volibear prioritizes health. This will save you in many situations as you will heal for 30% of your health when near death.

  • Rolling Thunder (Q):
    For the next 4 seconds, Volibear will gain 15% movement speed. If he is moving towards a nearby visible enemy champion, the movement speed is increased by 45% instead of 15%. Additionally, Volibear's next autoattack during this time will deal 30 / 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 bonus physical damage and will fling the target behind him (300 units).

    "To war!"

    This skill will help you in initiating, escaping, ganking, and assisting teamates. Similar to Singed's Fling, Volibear can use this to his favor in many ways. When ganking always remember to activate this near the brush, but not entering it, to avoid wards easier. Use in conjunction with Majestic Roar for better results.

  • Frenzy (W):
    Passive: Volibear temporarily gains 8 / 11 / 14 / 17 / 20 % bonus attack speed after an autoattack. This bonus stacks up to 3 times and lasts for 4 seconds.

    Active: While Volibear has 3 stacks of Frenzy, he can activate this ability to bite a target enemy. The stacks won't be consumed. The bite will deal 80 / 125 / 170 / 215 / 260 (+15% of bonus health) physical damage. This damage will in turn be increased by 1% for every 1 % of the target's missing health.

    "Let none survive."

    The bread and butter of Volibear, don't underestimate it. This will give you lots of damage without items, and it makes stacking health very rewarding. You can execute people easily with its active. However, try not to stack it too often and it will lead to pushing your lane, making you vulnerable to ganks.

  • Majestic Roar (E):
    Volibear lets out a powerful roar that deals 60 / 105 / 150 / 195 / 240 (+60% of ability power) magic damage and slows nearby enemies by 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 % for 3 seconds. Minions, monsters and pets are feared for the duration as well.

    "Tremble at my roar!"

    Compared to Volibears abilities, this is a great utility spell for him. It can assist you in ganks or when assisting teammates, 50% slow is quite a lot. There isn't much to say, this ability is basic.

  • Thunder Claws (R):
    For the next 12 seconds, Volibear's autoattacks will blast his target with lightning that will bounce to up to 3 nearby enemies. Each bolt of lightning will deal 75 / 115 / 155 (+30% of ability power) magic damage and will only hit each target once.

    "The thunder calls."

    This skill is an awesome steroid that will allow you to deal damage without items. Activate this only in fights, often using this in skills will lead to diminishing results as the enemy can simply walk away when you've used your ultimate. This way he has successfully baited it and you will deal less damage. Also, the AoE is good for destroying groups.

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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

> > >

For Tanky DPS, we max:
For Tank Volibear, swap Rolling Thunder and Majestic Roar. You want to prioritize utility as Tank Volibear, and Rolling Thunder already gives you enough utility at level 1.
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

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Items (Tanky DPS)

Generally as Tanky DPS Volibear you want lots of hybrid damage/tanky items early game, and start building super tanky mid to late game. This is because Volibear somewhat falls off late game but has an extreme presence early game.

  • : // These combined with your health pots will ensure you safety from ganks, skillshots and harassment. I sometimes start Cloth Armor against a tough opponent like Lee Sin or Renekton.
  • : // I prefer to build this straight after my boots as it gives a lot of early health to help with your passive and Frenzy, while giving you some more tankiness. This will be built into a Randuin's Omen later on.
  • : // This will increase your damage output by a huge amount and will give you lots of magic resistance. Rush this often even against an AD top, the main component of this item is the damage.
  • : // Phage will give you some much needed sticking power and extra health for tankiness. I rarely ever skip this item as Volibear, you really need the sticking power as your CC skills have high cooldowns.
  • : // Get these boots, as Volibear has no natural tankiness and thus is vulnerable to CC. The CC reduction and magic resist combined will enable you to be extremely durable. You may consider a Ninja Tabi here if the opponent is dominant with AD/Their carry is fed/You think you lack armor.
  • : // Your first big item. Warmog's Armor is a core item for Volibear since his skills focus on health, and this item gives the most health possible in the game. You will be deceptively durable with this item and you can start bursting people at 800 health if you are fed enough.
  • : // Combined with Warmog's Armor is every Tanky DPS' dream, to be able to dish out huge damage while tanking the same. This item will give you around 45-55 AD and the armor and it chance is just icing on the cake. You can consider getting the Chain Vest earlier before you finish Warmog's Armor, but make sure you have a Giant's Belt.
  • : // Build your Heart of Gold into this afterwards. You should be late into the game now, and Volibear must aim at the enemy carry. Since you will get focused when diving, this item is a lifesaver. Simply use the active on all 5 of the enemy team and you can start tanking everything. I always build this, as late game AD carries are extremely threatening if you do not have the tankiness to back you up.
  • : // Consider these two items before building into them. If you need more tankiness or extra CC, build Frozen Mallet. If you're dominating the enemy, build Trinity Force.

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Items (Tank)

  • : // Refer to the above text.
  • philosopher's stone : // I really like to build these two gold generating items to help me get to my items sooner and gain more gold since Tank Volibear has trouble farming later into the game.
  • : // Refer to the above text.
  • shurelya's reverie: // Your first big item. This item will solve your sustain problems and will help you disengage or initiate very easily. Mandatory on Tank Volibear.
  • : // Your second item would be an item that gives your good resistances, which would be Aegis of the Legion. I just love this item because it gives you so much stats for so little, and you get to help out your teammates with the aura too.
  • : // I always get this item because it gives you much needed CDR and armor. The best part is that it slows the enemy attack speed when they stay around you, which can be detrimental to their AD carries. The CDR can help you peel more since you can spam Rolling Thunder.
  • : // Getting a white cape here will be all you need against enemy casters. It would also be a good time to build your turtle shell into a Randuin's Omen. This item is just a dream come true as you can immediately slow everybody when you initiate. You can also shut down the enemy carry as they have a chance of their attack speed being slowed when they attack you. Combined with Frozen Heart, the reducing is deadly.
  • : // To top off your build, finish the cape with a Force of Nature. The magic resist will ensure that you will survive very well, and the health regen (both the stat and the unique passive) synergizes so well with your Chosen of the Storm.

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Early Game

As Tanky DPS Volibear, you should look for early kills and snowball as your kill potential is extremely large. When engaging, go in with Rolling Thunder and slow with Majestic Roar, while finishing with Frenzy. It is not recommended to use Thunder Claws if you have already used Rolling Thunder and Majestic Roar. Only use your ult when you are fully engaged. Also try to keep a balance between farming and harassing. Remember to ward and call MIAs.

As Tank Volibear, you would have less kill potential. This is not too much of a downfall however, as Frenzy still deals extreme amounts of damage. You should farm and get our gold per 10's as soon as possible.

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Mid Game

Mid Game is where Volibear can shine really well. As Tanky DPS Volibear, try to push your lane and gank a lane, your ganking potential is extremely powerful. I usually go down mid lane for an easy kill. If not, I sometimes ward their blue and steal it if there seems to be no threat. When fighting, dive their AD carry right away and kill them as soon as possible. Avoid the AP carries if possible, Volibear has no natural tankiness and can easily be destroyed by burst mages like Xerath or Brand.

You're also a great duelist at this point, try to pick a fight and kill them.

As Tank Volibear, I often push my lane extremely hard so I can go to other lanes to help. A tank can never leave their team behind. I try to pick teamfights as Volibear is a great initiator and you can deal a noticeable amount of damage just from Thunder Claws. Fling their carry with Rolling Thunder and slow the enemy offtanks or assassins to prevent your carries from being dived. In the worst case scenario where they DO get dived, I drop down everything and save my carry.

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Late Game/Teamfights

Late Game is where Volibear falls off, as he is very prone to burst damage and you can get kited. As Tanky DPS Volibear, I often just aim for their offtanks if I feel unsafe. However, if you see a carry out of position, immediately fling them with Rolling Thunder and chip away at their health. You deal extreme amounts of damage.

Also, always stick with your team as losing a teammate can often lead to the enemy getting baron, pushing a few towers, destroying some inhibitors, or even a win.

As Tank Volibear, I always remain near my carries to save them from the enemy divers. Rarely do I initiate to their team, as Volibear cannot tank 5 people as well as true tanks can, like Shen or Leona. In the case where I really do need to initiate, I often tell my jungler to come in with me. However if you're ahead feel free to initiate whenever you want.

During Teamfights, analyze clearly, what is the most important objecive? Often I find myself peeling for my carry. However, different situations call for different solutions. Some cases:

Example 1: You just initiated, the enemy team is in a mess and are running for it. Immediately activate Thunder Claws and chip away at their health. Remember to fling people into your team and slow threatening targets.

Example 2: You are behind, the enemy just initiated and your team is running for it. Stay near your squishier allies and fling any targets who are attack your allies. Slow the frontliners and run with Rolling Thunder if possible.

Example 3: You are in an even teamfight, and you notice one of your carries are being dived. Fling the most threatening target away from your carry, and Thunder Claws + Frenzy the other targets.

Needless to say, it's important to judge situations based on what's happening.

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Thanks for reading a guide written on a boring summer night, I'll definitely be adding more to this guide. I really need to catch some sleep however...

~ Phil Collins

Soon to come:
Lane match-ups
More in-depth explanations