Warwick Build Guide by J 2 the ROC
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+10% Attack Speed
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It's no coincidence that this build is quite similar to my build for Volibear, as they have very similar kits (not to mention they're both wild animals and are right next to each other alphabetically). You'll find a lot of similar information as a result.
+ Good sustain, especially at low health
+ Hybrid damage, makes it difficult to itemize against
+ Inherently powerful auto-attacks
+ Excellent chase with persistent movement speed buff
+ AOE crowd control
+ Mini Unbreakable Will with E
+ Scales well into mid and late games
+ Excellent duelist with a playmaking Q
- Weak early game
- Horrible mana pool
- Ult can be interrupted relatively easily
- Somewhat easily kited in teamfights
Warwick is an auto-attack based champion, and Press the Attack is the best choice on him. Your Q procs on hit effects, so one use of Jaws of the Beast and two auto attacks will activate Press the Attack.
Triumph is the best pick of the first set of runes, and will probably save your life on more than one occasion.
Legend: Alacrity provides more attack speed for your auto attacks, and is more useful than tenacity or lifesteal.
You can take either Coup de Grace or Last Stand for the final rune set. Coup de Grace is the more reliable pick as you will always get the damage off before killing en enemy champ. Last Stand provides more damage and might be better in a duel, but you could miss out on the last bit of damage needed to kill a fleeing enemy. Your choice.
Second Wind provides a lot more healing than you might expect in lane, and Revitalize does the same. If you want, you can switch out Revitalize for Demolish, which can help you split push and gain extra gold from turret plating.
As for the third tier runes take attack speed, and either armor or magic seals depending on the match up.
|Built in auto attack damage and life-steal. Eternal Hunger might seem like an unexciting passive, but it is cornerstone to Warwick's kit. While it is relatively weak in the early levels, after about level 5 it begins to perform well in trades. This passive not only makes your auto-attacks do bonus magic damage, but it begins to heal you the lower your health gets. Coupled with Spirit Visage and Wit's End, Warwick becomes an unstoppable healing machine in the midst of team fight or duel.|
JAWS OF THE BEAST
|Damaging ability that heals Warwick for a percent damage dealt. Latches Warwick to target and places him on the far side of it if held down. Jaws of the Beast is a great ability that does a respectable amount of damage to both squishy and tanky champions alike due to its percent health damage. Additionally, Jaws of the Beast heals Warwick for a portion of the damage dealt. If you hold Q down, Jaws of the Beast allows Warwick to stick to targets even if they are using a movement ability or Flash, so long as you get the timing right. It should be used at the end of trades to return health and damage enemies. Just be careful of the mana cost. Max this first.|
|Passive movement and attack speed steroid against low health champs The passive on Blood Hunt is active so long as you are chasing or fighting a low health champ. As the enemy gets lower, you will put out more damage and recover more health healthy. This ability is what makes Warwick Jungle so effective, but in lane it actually helps with CSing quite a bit, and if your opponent gets below 50% you suddenly have a movement speed advantage and can apply pressure a bit more easily. The active allows use to use blood hunt on a nearby champion regardless of their health, so use it when you need to catch up with an enemy who is out of position. Alternate skill distribution between this and you E*.|
|Damage reduction and AoE fear. This is a really nice utility passive. It serves as a mini Unbreakable Will wihtout the CC reduction, so while its up you can absorb a significant amount of damage, even from multiple enemies at once. After waiting at least one second, you can reactive it to for an AoE fear that lasts one second. When you are dueling an enemy in lane, try and delay the fear as long as possible so you get the maximum benefit from the damage reduction. When chasing an enemy, activate Primal Howl, use Jaws of the Beast to position yourself on the opposite side of the target, and then activate Primal Howl to get them running in other direction. The fear duration does not increase as you level up the ability, only the damage reduction. Alternate skill distribution between this and your W*.|
|Gap closing dash that suppresses an enemey champion if hit and deals moderate damage. Infinite Duress is great utility ult that suppresses an enemy for 2.5 seconds and procs on hit effects 3 times, meaning you'll always activate Press the Attack if your ult is not interrupted. It's pretty easy to miss this ability, so when in doubt close the gap a bit before trying to hit an ult at max range. It can also be used as an escape if necessary. This ability makes Warwick very easy to gank for, an allows him to be an excellent duelist in the top lane. In teamfights, you should NEVER initiate with this ability, unless an enemy carry is caught out and in range of the rest of your team. Max this ASAP.|
*Maxing your E or W first is not recommended, since you'll really never know when either one will come in handy. Sometimes, its better to have a little more movement and attack speed in a team-fight rather than increased damage reduction, and by alternating maxing your E and W, you can always ensure you have a balance of both.
As for your starting item, I take Doran's Blade in most matchups, but if I'm playing against champion with a lot of ranged harass like Jayce or Gnar, then I'll start with Doran's Shield instead, although patch 9.14 reduced the strength of ranged champions by a fair margin.
Start with this build against tanks or low kill-potential champions. This includes champions that don't do a lot of damage in the lane phase (at least compared to bruisers). Against these champions you want to start with Titanic Hydra and then pick up Ninja Tabi and Spirit Visage first, depending on whether you need more armor or magic resist. Starting Titanic Hydra ensures that you will have decent damage output after lane, while still being tanky enough to not be melted in teamfights.
Against more dangerous champs that put out a lot of damage early on, or when you need to be the tank for your team, you should start with this more defensive build. Sunfire Cape offers good armor and waveclear, and picking up Wit's End gives you decent damage and magic resist stats. After these four items, you likely want to pick up a Titanic Hydra for more damage or another couple tank items. See below.
Other Viable Items
|This is my go-to item after my starting build. There is usually one other enemy besides the ADC that relies on auto attacks, and the armor and damage output of Thornmail helps immensely against them in teamfights. Bramble Vest is a great mid-tier item against healing champs as well, and you can start with Bramble Vest against someone like Tryndamere or Aatrox.|
|Blade of the Ruined King has great offensive stats, but I think it's a pretty situational item given its high price. It provides attack speed, percent health damage, and lifesteal, making it useful against very tanky teams. Even then, Wit's End and Titanic Hydra will usually provide all the damage you need. Like other on-hit items, Blade of the Ruined King's passive is proced 3 times during Infinite Duress.|
This item is great as a final defensive item to help you survive the burst damage you might be taking in teamfights. The active reduces your damage output, so timing the active is important in maximizing value. If you are front-lining, activate Primal Howl and Gargoyle Stoneplate at the same time to absorb as much damage as possible.
Iceborn Gauntlet offers great stats for Warwick, increasing your armor, mana pool (of which Warwick tends to have a issues with) and CD reduction. Iceborn Gauntlet is a strong utility item that synergies well with Jaws of the Beast. If your team lacks CC in teamfights, this might be a good pickup. The area of effect slow is useful against grouped up enemies, and if you going after an enemy carry, the slow helps in pursuit.
I only ever pick Randuin's Omen if the enemy has a fed carry that relies on critical damage, like a Yasuo or Tryndamere. The price was reduced in a recent patch, making it a bit more cost effective. The AoE slow is pretty decent, but doesn't justify picking up this item on its own.
A very important concept to understand with Warwick top is delaying the fear on Primal Howl during duels. Since Primal Howl reduces the damage you take, you want to have it activated for as long as possible in a trade to absorb as much damage as you can. This will usually allow you to get an extra use of Jaws of the Beast that you otherwise might not get if you end the trade too early with the fear.