Warwick Build Guide

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Warwick, the Beast

written by Slushy

Warwick Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Special thanks to Summerskin for helping me set up the guide layout, links, and coloring. If you play Vladimir or have an interest in playing Vladimir, go check out Summerskin's Vlad guide: http://leaguecraft.com/strategies/guide/8338-ultimate-thorough-guide-to-ap-vlad.xhtml

    Thanks to all of House Forsaken for being patient with me and for convincing me to play Warwick.

    Warwick, the Blood Hunter is often misplayed. But then again, most guides start that way don't they? It's true. What calls someone to write a guide is that their favorite champion is being consistently misplayed, and the guide is their chance to shine a light on the gaming community. That is exactly what I'll be doing today with Warwick. He is constantly misplayed because most people who play Warwick see only one dimension. They see a champion who comes out of no where, jumps on his prey, gets a kill, then runs back into the shadows. He is considered "strong early but becomes obsolete towards the end of the game." He is usually played by people who are concerned primarily with K/D and as a biproduct end up winning a handful of games. This is all wrong. Warwick is one of the most team oriented, all game, sacrificial characters in the game. He fundamentally changes how battles are fought. He is a one man army and a martyr. The key from being a "good" Warwick to a "great" Warwick is understanding your role in the team, and understanding how important that role is. If you can't accept the responsibility and pressure of having your team's success depend on your ability to affect the battle throughout the entire game, whether it's 25 minutes or 80 minutes, then Warwick is not the Champion for you.

  • Runes / Masteries

    Greater Glyph of Insight X 9
    Greater Mark of Insight X 9
    Greater Quintessence of Fortitude X 3
    Greater Seal of Evasion X 9

    These aren't necessarily must have runes. The Quints are fairly standard. The reason I said to get the Insight runes is because you want magic pen for your primary damage dealing abilities... and Madred's Bloodrazor. The final set are Evasion runes which definitely come in handy early game, but are beneficial throughout.

    You can easily make a compelling argument for other runes, but these are the ones I use. The reason being that I play Warwick as an early ganker, late game "tank". The MP helps me deal more damage, not enough to melt champs, but enough to give me a nice boost in my damage output throughout the game. And evasion is great for the early jungle phase, and generally good against the main champs that are strong against WW.

    12/0/18 http://leaguecraft.com/masteries/3010400130000000000000000000003140032030200
    12/9/9 http://leaguecraft.com/masteries/3010400130000003010401000000003140010000000

    The first option is to increase your ability to "play". It gives you an increase in mana regen for when you don't have blue, CD reduction, and generally good utility boosts. The second option makes you more situated for a tank role. It boosts your general survivability by giving you some Armor or Magic Resist boost, dodge, and a Nimbleness (dodge speed boost). In both cases, you will always be taking Plentiful Bounty (improved smite), Archaic Knowledge (Magic Pen), Sunder (Armor Pen), and Awareness (exp boost). If you want to make your own masteries, that's fine, but I highly recommend including those 4 masteries every time.

  • Skilling Order

    You should be taking first for jungling. After that, you want to get and then . You want for the first 2 golems, for the blue buff, and the in case someone decides to be overly aggressive early and you're nearby for a gank. It's not often, but it pays off and It also helps a lot when hunting the other jungler.

    The reason you should take as a priority is because of how battles are early game. Keep in mind that early game you are jumping out, hitting someone, and then chasing them down. Almost no one is going to stand there and attack you 1 on 1. This is the same logic as to why you take before . Blood Scent is incredibly useful, The combination of increased MS and scent range is HUGE and I can't stress enough how dangerous you become when you can smell out the enemy 4700 away instead of the level 1 1500. Each level increases 800 distance and 5% MS. is good for helping with early farming, but after that you don't need the big increase in AS until late game when battles become one big ball of chaos. Yes, there is a CD reduction with an increase in the levels, but you'll have Madred's early on, and Blood shortly after. You won't really be using for anything except when you have the Blue Buff or when you're taking down dragon.

  • Summoner Abilities

    I personally go with and
    Other normal abilities I would recommend are
    Exhaust is always a good spell, great for 1v1 or team battles, and amazing against strong melee or ranged DPS
    it cuts healers heals in half while burning them, normally someone on your team will have this already so, its not a must
    Flash is great for several reasons, you can blink through walls, or away from team fights

    I find most of my problems come when the enemy is trying to cut me off when I'm alone jungling or when I pushed a lane just a bit far, so having that extra boost from Ghost when my scent isn't active is very helpful.

    Summoner skills on Warwick I don't recommend

    Nothing to say about this
    This is also useless
    [spell_icon=Rally]Rally isn't bad, but it's not good either
    [spell_icon=Fortify]Improved Fortify is good but I would not recommend this on Warwick

  • Build Example

    Your 6 end game items are as follows:


    To get to that point you have various courses you can take depending on the game dynamic. The standard 3 are:


    Boots of Swiftnes and Boots of Mobility I'll discuss below. The madred's is standard because of how well it compliments everything you do. The malady is a recent addition because of the patch change. It now helps with reducing the MR of the enemy, is made of small components, and increases your damage dealing in all the right places. It's a cheap way to increase your damage output, and should always be part of your early game arsenal. If you want to sell it late game for something massive like Infinity's Edge or Warmog's... that's fine, but most games won't get to the point where you are selling items for "better" ones.

    My favorite is the following:


    I like this build because it capitalizes on your initial aggression while adding the spirit visage for CD reduction, a slight boost in health, and increase survivability with the increase to your passive and life steal bonuses. It's solid and great for the standard game.


    I'll sometimes skip Spirit Visage for Banshee's if I see the spell protection worth the loss in all-around help for cheap. I only recommend this for people who have played WW exstensively and can correctly see the game dynamic. You don't want to be stuck with a half finished Banshee's and lose out on valuable time.

    The reason Spirit Visage isn't in my "end game items" is because at some point I usually will sell it for a huge item like GA or Frozen Mallet. is great, but I usually can justify the sell due to how the game is being played. Sometimes I'm needed much earlier as a big tank, and as such I'll need the boost to armor and MR from . Sometimes the game will be going great and I can just sell Visage for the simply because it offers me more late game.

    Boot selection is a funny area. It all depends on your play style. If you are very active, get Boots of Mobility. It's my primary choice because I believe WW should be constantly moving around the map and only defending a lane when absolutely neccessary. That said, I've enjoyed a lot of success with Boots of Swiftness. While Mob will get you to the battle, Swiftness will keep you in it. But you should sell either at some point for Merc Treads because the game will turn into a 5 man roaming army, and you are now an off-tank. Under no circumstance should you be getting Berserker's Boots! You do not need the 25% increase AS at any point in the game! Sorc boots are cute, but you don't deal nearly enough continuous magic damage to justify losing your ability to gank, chase, or absorb damage.

  • Jungling

    Jungling is your first gift to the team. Because of you, two people can solo lane and get to that critical level 6 before their opponents. With few exceptions, the way you should jungle with Warwick is hitting the two golems first and THEN going for the blue buff golem (sometimes stopping at the wolves). There is almost never a good reason to get the Blue Buff first, because it is entirely unneeded for Warwick to jungle successfully, and all you get is a high level of risk to get ganked. If you go for the two golems first, you get a chance to see the map, you get level 2, and you're in a perfect situation to either gank their jungler at Blue or to take it yourself. Which is the next point: you should almost always be taking their blue buff. In normal pub games, teams will ward your blue buff, almost never theirs. In high ELO, they'll most likely be very aware of what you can and will do, so either take your blue buff while watching the minimap closely, or you can attempt theirs but it will most likely be very tough unless your allies are controlling that lane. Here are the following three opening game scenarios:

    If they have a jungler (non-Warwick):
    Buy Cloth Armor, Health Potionx2, Sight Ward
    Run straight to their blue buff and drop the ward
    If they pop out, get away, use ghost if needed, and B back to heal
    Go get the two golems, the whole time be watching your ward at their blue
    If they don't show up, run straight for your blue buff... chances are they're trying to take yours
    If you don't see them, watch out for them ganking you when you begin blue
    Use one of the pots while taking on Blue Buff, then jungle as you see fit...
    Try to have Red and Blue at the same time

    If they have a Warwick:
    Begin the same as before, except be aware that he doesn't need blue immediately the same as you
    Consider avoiding blue buff and stealing neutrals from their WW... smiting the blue wraith for instance
    I'd still take blue if possible, but be very aware and save your smite for last hit on Golem
    If they have no jungler:
    Cloth Armor, Health Potionx2, Sight Ward
    Take 2 golems, head for their blue buff, take their blue buff
    Use the ward at a strategic point
    I usually use the ward outside of their blue buff to catch people trying to gank you / mid trying to gank

    In all scenarios, you should be jungling as hard as possible until
    A: someone calls for you to defend a lane
    B: someone calls for a gank
    C: you see a gank opening

    Now it's very important to understand the limitations of WW at this point. Most people will say you can start ganking at level 4... I entirely disagree. At level 4 you should have 2 levels into , 1 level in , 1 level in and no boots. You can maybe ghost in, use a to hit, and then what? Chances are they have flash or ghost or exhaust... you simply have no way of doing continuous damage, and you just lost out on farming time. I rarely step in before level 6. I usually will jungle hard till 6, B back, buy Razors and Boots at the same time, then head back to jungle and wait for a gank opening. DO NOT B back when you hit 700 gold because there is simply no reason to immediately get Razors. You can farm to 6 quickly with smite and your abilities + buffs. The time lost going back to get Razors and walking back to the jungle is not worth it, because even if you get to 6, you have no boots. So you'd have to B back a second time. The beginning of the game is very critical because it is a rush to level 6 in all lanes. The same applies to you as WW... you are basically nothing more than a solid jungler until 6... you can lifesteal and attack fast, that's about it. After 6 you become a nightmare... so be patient and wait for the perfect time to strike.

  • How to Interact with the Team

    Here is the key to the guide. This is the primary difference in a good and great WW. The item build plays into a successful wolf as well, but the way you interact with the team changes how the entire game plays out. Your ability to cause terror in the other side is why they spend money on wards instead of a new item, why they don't push past certain points, why they start traveling in groups of 2 or more at all times.

    One key thing to discuss before I get into the actual team play is what exactly ganking does. Ganking doesn't just get a kill and give you some exp... it stops them from getting exp. And not just the kind of time it takes for them to push "B" and run back to the lane... they're dead for X amount of seconds... that's huge. In very competitive matches, it's often that slight edge in levels that decides the outcome. The first good indicator of whether or not you are doing well as WW is the level comparison of your team to the opponents team.

    For the basic gank, your job is to Guarantee a Kill. If that means you "KS" then so be it. If your team can't understand that this is a team game and you're in it to win it, then you're going to have a hard time winning. That said, if you're jumping in to gank a 2v3 and one of them is for sure going to die, don't go for him. You should be trying to avoid taking kills from your allies whenever possible, but you shouldn't become passive because of that. This is a very important thing... if you are casting your ulti, you should either be stopping someone from dying/inflicting mass damage (think MF) or you should be ensuring a kill. You should never be casting your ulti just because you want to cast it. So for the basic gank, the primary goal is to GUARANTEE a kill, and it's up to your judgment as a good player to decide whether or not a "KS" was required.

    A good trick I like to do is to affect the mid-lane battle early game. At some point, even before level 6, I'll pop out and get a good swipe on the mid champ. Keep in mind that this is a very situation specific type of maneuver. Usually the heros in mid are big time level 6 baddies... someone like Karthus or Vladimir or Miss Fortune. The battle in mid is brutal because it's often that the first to 6 is the first to get a kill. If your ally is having problems and you can swing the tide of battle, then that is a good indicator that you should sacrifice some exp to make it so your ally has 75% health and the enemy now has 30%. It affects how well your ally can EXP deny, it affects how aggressive each player can be, and it makes it known that you are hunting. BUT, do not do this every game. Remember how important it is you get to 6 fast. But you can still apply this concept throughout the game, popping out to , and put the enemy on edge.

    In the major team battles mid to late game is when most people think WW loses his power. This is entirely untrue, and I sum up most of these assumptions to bad item builds and bad game theory. Almost everyone gets Blood, and as such thinks "well if it takes out a percentage of health, I should be targetting tanks"... WRONG! This is why most WW fail past the point of ganking early on. Diving for tanks is dumb... simple as that. There are times you will, but never just because he's the tank. You should always try to engage from the side if possible, and aim for the back line. The back line is where champions like MF like to sit and wait for that perfect cone, or where Twitch likes to unload from safety. If you take out the other teams DPS, you will change battles from 0-5 Ace to 5-0 Ace. BUT, DO NOT JUMP IN FIRST! I can't stress this enough... you are useless if you jump in first and get stunned immediately. Be patient, you are a hunter. Wait for the perfect time to attack your prey. You should have at least one tank on your team initiating, and he should be soaking up a good amount of stuns. Try to wait just long enough that the attention of the other team is on the big cluster battle, and then hit the back line. If you can get off your full ulti and a ... your job is done. The DPS is now dead or running fast away from the battle, and your team should now have a solid edge. Now you just hit and unload on something. Keep focusing on the squishy DPS units whenever possible, but don't forget to protect teammates if they are being hunted down.

    All the theory aside, with the build I provided above you are an "off-tank" by about mid game, and really kick in about late game. When you dive in you will become a ball of fury. Warwick has huge lifesteal abilities... couple that with insane MS and you are able to dive in and get out alive. If they chase, you can for a chunk of life, then decide your course of action. It is very important to understand, your best role for the team is as someone who hits critical points such as stopping MF right when she starts ulting, and then turning into someone who can soak up and dish out mass amounts of damage.

  • Farming

    Farm all the time. You should not be sitting in a bush, waiting for 3 minutes while someone widdles down their laning enemy. You should always always always be getting money and exp. If someone calls for a gank, only go if you know that you can jump in within 5 seconds of getting to the lane, otherwise decline.

    Another very important concept is when to use Smite. If you have upgraded Smite (which you should), then you want to be using Smite constantly. Maximize your gold. That said, if you are worried about another jungler, save your smite for last hitting major creeps. Don't hold onto it for 60 seconds waiting to get to a creep... but if you delay 5 seconds so you can last hit Blue Buff, then it's worth it for that safety.

    Don't forget, you are meant to be the dragon slayer. Your team is expecting you to be taking out dragon as much as possible, which you should be. BUT, don't do it stupidly. If you feel them watching dragon, then don't hit dragon without wards. I usually apply my SC2 thought process at this point... similar to SC2, the best time to build an expansion is when you are attacking, the best time to take out dragon is when they are dead or you KNOW they are on the other side of the map. If you feel threatened, it's not worth you dying, them getting gold/exp, and then them getting dragon.

    Last bit of advice is always be attacking something. If you are going from one lane to the next, take down a set of neutrals. If you are crossing the creeps, take out a wave and then move on. Stopping for these pit stops is important because you will be missing out on a lot of consistent EXP/Gold if you are playing WW properly. Your team will be pushing and harassing hard, and you will have a lot of pings saying they want you to gank. It's important to take time out to ensure you are strong enough to help the team... that means you being a proper level and having proper items for that stage of the game.

  • Champions that "Counter" Warwick

    Generally, you need to be aware of any champions that have one or more Stuns/Silences/Escapes, but those are fairly obvious. Keep in mind champions like Annie who stuns often, or Cho' Gath who has an AoE stun and silence, when hitting the back line during a major battle. The champions I list below are particularly dangerous for Warwick because even attacking them at a seemingly opportunistic time could be disastrous.

    External ImageDr. Mundo – Huge life regen, extremely hard to knock out quickly, usually will require a long battle of chasing, Hungering Strike, and dodging his Cleaver.

    External ImageMaster Yi – Usually carries a cleanse, he’s squishy but if he survives your initial onslaught chances are he can auto attack you to death with massive life steal… and he can most likely out run you or chase you down. Yi will either be kill fodder or a terror… just be cautious.

    External ImageOlaf – Can escape your ulti with Ragnarok, he’s also an annoyance early game since he is a strong jungler and you will most likely be bumping into him often. Best way to deal with him is with hit and run tactics since he is nasty up close and personal. Once you are built up, you can stand toe to toe a bit safer, but it’s dangerous early on, or when Olaf is heavily built late game.

    External ImageTryndamere – Basically he is Death Incarnate in the hands of a great player; he will seemingly be easy prey and then melt you in a matter of seconds while spinning his way to freedom. His ultimate makes it extremely dangerous to jump him thinking you’ll pop him immediately. To kill Tryndamere you just need to time your ulti. Undying rage lasts for 6 seconds, so when you hear his battle cry, just start counting, and when you reach 5 second, pop your ulti on him so he doesn’t spin away. If this doesn’t land you an instant kill, just have your Hungering Strike ready to finish him off.

    You can kill any of these champions. As far as I know, there are no hard counter champions for Warwick if you play smart. Just know your limitations and their capabilities.

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