Volibear Build Guide

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Volibear - Bear with me

written by v3nd0r

Volibear Build



Table of Contents

  • Abilities

    Chosen of the Storm
    Heal for 30% of your Maximum Health over 6 seconds when you drop below 30% Health. 120 second cooldown

    Very good passive as long as you dont charge into a 1v4 thinking "my passive will save me".

    Kinda like a scaled down version of Mundo's ulti.


    Rolling Thunder
    Volibear drops to all fours and runs faster if chasing an enemy champion. The first enemy he attacks is knocked into the air.

    Bonus move speed: 45%
    Duration: 4 seconds
    Bonus damage: 25/50/75/100/125
    Cost: 40 Mana
    Cooldown: 12/11/10/9/8 seconds


    Chasing/initiating skill. Most important thing is to make sure you throw them in a direction that benefits you and your team, not in a direction that helps them escape.


    Frenzy
    Volibear's repeated attacks grant him additional Attack Speed. Once Volibear has repeatedly attacked four times, he can perform a vicious bite on his target which deals increased damage based on the target's missing health.

    Passive
    Stacking Attack Speed (stacks 3 times): 8/11/14/17/20%

    Active
    Damage: 90/140/190/240/290 (+20% of bonus Health)
    Cost: 35 mana
    Cooldown: 18 seconds


    Bite target's head off with this skill. Be careful, this has quite a long cooldown, so you will want to save it until your target has lower health for more damage.

    Kinda like a scaled down version of Garen's ulti.


    Majestic Roar
    Volibear lets out a powerful roar that damages and slows enemies. Minions and monsters are feared as well.

    Duration: 3 seconds
    Damage: 60/95/130/165/200 (+0.6 per ability power)
    Cost: 60/65/70/75/80 Mana
    Cooldown: 11 seconds


    Your AOE CC. Removes the threat of enemy minions in early game ganks


    Thunder Claws
    Volibear channels the power of the storm causing his attacks to blast his targets with lightning that bounces to other nearby enemies.

    Duration: 12 seconds
    Damage: 75/115/155 (+0.3 per ability power)
    Cost: 100 Mana
    Cooldown: 100/90/80 seconds


    Doesn't just scare off minions, it actually kills them!


  • Introduction

    Hi all, this is my first guide, so be nice. I appologise in advance for any dodgy-ness of this guide.

    Please leave suggestions and comments and help me improve my guide writing abilities.

    I've seen and heard about a LOT of bad volibears out there that run in and die in the first few seconds and are no use to the team whatsoever. I'm far from being a pro of any description, but I like to think I'm fairly good at tank/tanky-dps, and wanted to give my 2 cents on how I think volibear should be played.

    Personally, I see volibear as a jungler early game and moves to a tank role mid-late game. Admittedly, volibear may not be the best of junglers, but even early game he is fairly beefy and can jungle quite safely. Once he gets Madred's Razors (easily achieved after a gank or 2), his Frenzy lets him jungle INSANELY fast.
    I mainly only play Summoner's Rift, and as such my guide will only cover this map.

  • Quick Alt-tab Guide

    Runes

    Greater Mark of Alacrity  Greater Glyph of Warding  Greater Seal of Resilience  Greater Quintessence of Fortitude

    Masteries:



    Summoner Spells:
     
    Starting Items:
    and
    Core Items:

    Skilling order

    First


    Then level 6 onwards in this order

  • Pros / Cons

    Pros:

    + VERY beefy champ
    + Can be beefy while still dealing considerable damage (to quote a friend of mine, he's like mundo but with damage)
    + Can cause a lot of chaos in team fights
    + and  makes an enemy creep wave negligible (especially useful in early game ganks)
    is a great initiator/chaser
    + Passive  is a scaled down mundo ulti which can turn the tide of 1v1/team fights

    Cons:

    - Can run into mana problems if you dont get blue buff
    - Kinda slow jungler first few levels
    - Fairly item reliant

    If you guys think of any more, please do leave a message in the comments section.

  • Masteries + Runes

    Keep in mind that Runes should always be dependant on what you have available as well as your personal play style; don't just go out and spend heaps of IP just because some "guide" said so.

    For Masteries, I roll with 

     which I feel are fairly self-explanatory, but again, change these to suit your own play-style as necessary.

    As for runes, I recommend:

    Greater Mark of Alacrity x9

    Greater Glyph of Warding x9

    Greater Seal of Resilience x9

    Greater Quintessence of Fortitude x3

    For marks, I think the consensus is that is the most suitable for volibear, and I agree. As for the glyphs and seals, some guides recommend health per level or flat health to boost Frenzy, and whilst I can see the logic behind it, I think that firstly, a lot of tanky-dps players will already have the armour and MR runes and secondly, a lot of volibear players don't fare too well because they just stack heaps of HP and we all know that HP alone is worthless unless you have armour and MR to back it up.

    The flat HP quints, although they are very expensive, I feel most people have them anyway and they will give you enough beefiness early game.

  • Summoner Abilities

    For the first summoner spell, I see a lot of players going with  Heal, but I think it is only because that was the recommendation on the champion spotlight. Personally, I feel that  Surge is BY FAR a better option on volibear. Basically, it lasts the same time as your ulti , giving you a substantial AS and AP boost.

    Whilst I can see that Heal can work well with your passive, I feel that all it does is make you last (just slightly) longer in battle and may occasionally save a teammate, but two big problems are: first is that as the "tank", why would the enemy team bother attacking you when you're just a big meatball that is of no threat to them? Second is that  Heal becomes pretty much useless mid-late game for pretty much every champion.

    Answer: They won't.

    They'll run right past you and kill off that Yi that's wetting himself cowering behind you. Even if you manage to throw one of them away with your  and slow them a bit with , that Yi is still dead. After they mop the floor with the rest of your team, it's going to be 5v1 and no matter how big a meatball you are, they're still going to eat you.

    To be an effective tank, you need to be seen as a threat; make them think twice before running in to kill that Yi that's holding onto the tower for dear life, especially since you don't have a taunt.

    As an added bonus,  Surge increases your size, and one of the only things scarier than a giant armoured bear that shoots lightning out of its claws is that same giant armoured bear that shoots lightning out of its claws on steroids.

    With the recent nerf to the jungle minions, Smite is no longer a "must have" (although it is recommended for lower level summoners to be safe). Viable options for the second spell include  Exhaust Teleport, Cleanse and possibly even Promote or Clairvoyance.

    Please don't get Ghost. Your  Rolling Thunder gives you more than enough MS to initiate/chase and the CD isn't that long anyway, and volibear should never be running away from a fight. "But v3nd0r, what if I need to run a fair distance to save a teammate?". Early game, you're jungling and ganking lanes, so either you're going to be there preparing to gank anyway or at another lane ganking there and too far away to help even with  Ghost. Late game, you should for the most part be sticking together anyway, and if theres one idiot running off all the time and getting ganked, your team is screwed anyway.

    Final note on summoner spells, look at what the rest of your team has chosen. In so many games I see people choosing summoner's spells because it's their "default" or "what they're used to". The problem is when everyone on the team has, for example,  Exhaust. It just doesn't work.

  • Skilling Order

    Normally, I go with



    but if you want to gank a bit earlier, then put a level in each spell by level 3



    The rationale behind this order is as follows: remember where I said you have to pose a threat to them to be an effective tank?  Firstly, your is the biggest threat. It will clear the meat shields your enemy calls their creep wave as well as deal bonus damage to them, so level it whenever available. Your  is the next biggest threat, since the passive makes more lightning come out of your claws when you pop your ulti and the active deals considerable damage, so it is your second most important spell.

    I level before because the bonus damage on  is negligible as you level it, and so you are only really getting it for the reduced cooldown (the move speed boost and the toss are same at all levels) which I don't find to be too helpful early-mid game, so I only put one point in it.

    on the other hand deals a more noticeable increasing damage as you level it up, but the main reason is for the increased slow %.

  • Items

    As a jungler, start with Regrowth Pendant and a Health Potion (or, for lower level summoners that want to play it safe, use Cloth Armor and Health Potion x5)

    Save up for Boots of Speed as well as an OPTIONAL [item=Heart of Gold] (fairly cheap HP and the gold/5 doesn't hurt either. Definitely get this if you plan on getting a Randuin's Omen later). Lower level summoners can upgrade their  Cloth Armor into Madred's Razors and then to a Wriggle's Lantern. The lifesteal, bonus minion damage and the ward will help you survive and level faster.

    If laning, I'd say you can probably get either Doran's Shield or Boots of Speed and Health Potion x3.

    After that, upgrade your  Boots of Speed to Mercury's Treads (or to Ninja Tabi if the enemy is REALLY AD heavy, although riot will be removing/changing them soon, so we'll see what happens) and then build your Warmog's Armor starting with Giant's Belt.

    This completes what I consider to be "core" to volibear. The items to get after this point depends not just on what the enemy team has, but also on which of their champions is doing well and buy items against them.

    If their AD carry is doing well, go for armour, such as Thornmail Randuin's Omen, Atma's Impaler and Frozen Heart.

    If their AP nuker is owning your team, go for MR. I recommend Banshee's Veil, Quicksilver Sash and [item=Force of Nature]. I'd recommend one of the first 2 if their nuker opens with a stun/snare (i.e. most nukers), since you will ALWAYS be openning with your Rolling Thunder, and its REALLY annoying to be snared the moment you come out of the bush. Otherwise, [item=Force of Nature] is a more all-round MR item. Again, it depends on your play style and on how the game is going.

    I know I have put in a lot of expensive items here, and you may ask "what if the game isn't going well and I don't think I will have the money to get  Warmog's Armor?". If that's the case, then go for tank items out of the budget bin OR go for items that have lots of small cheap parts, e.g. Aegis of the Legion, Spirit Visage Glacial Shroud -> Frozen Heart and  Randuin's Omen, and try to salvage what you can of the game.

    A final comment, although volibear will have heaps of health, it does not mean Atma's Impaler is a must (again, this depends on the particular game). I say this because (depending on the game) sometimes the best offence is a good defence. What I mean by this is that even without  Atma's Impaler, volibear's damage is quite considerable, so investing in even stronger defensive items can make you virtually indestructible and really mess with your opponent's head. Think back to the days when mordekaiser could go full tank build and still face smash 1v5.

  • What Not to Get

    As mentioned before, don't just stack HP. One Warmog's Armor is enough.

    I don't find Frozen Mallet a good idea for volibear. It is designed for AD carries to give them a bit more survivability. You will be jungling, so the red buff is available to you (although the slow has been nerfed), it's quite expensive and most importantly, you are a tank, so the defence on this item is not worth the gold. You have your Majestic Roar as a slow and your team should be able to provide the rest of the CC.

    Sunfire Cape. Yes it gives armour and HP, so it should in principle be good for volibear. But just raw stats aren't enough (except for Warmog's Armor, but it gives a VERY large amount of HP and regen to compensate). Items like this need to bring something extra to the table IMO, and the passive 35 dps just doesn't cut it. It's only useful for complimenting tanky champions with AOE DOTs such as amumu or garen. On volibear, however, I feel this is a waste of gold and an item slot.

    Guardian Angel. The actual armour and MR are acceptable, but nothing too impressive to begin with, but as with the cape, the "something extra" just doesn't cut it. If you never actually hit 0, then the revive is useless anyway, and you can get better armour/MR from other items. If you do drop to 0, your team is screwed because the enemy can probably clear them while you're still coming back, and you're going to be screwed since you should have popped your cooldowns and you revive on barely any health. All in all, I'd rather get stronger defensive items over this.

    AS/AP items in general. Your role is a tank. AS/AP will increase your damage output, but it makes you MUCH easier to kill. Probably the ONE exception you might consider is Abyssal Scepter, but I'd only consider it if no-one else on the team has it.

  • Build Example

    I appologise again, I don't know how to do the larger icons that you see in most guides. If someone can leave a comment telling me how to do so, that would be great.

    Core Items: 4200 Gold



    or with [item=heart of gold]: 5025 Gold

    [item_icon=heart of gold]

    Balanced Build: 14955 Gold

    [item_icon=force of nature]

    Against Heavy Physical: 14240 Gold

    [item_icon=force of nature]

    Game not going well: 6350 Gold


  • Early Game

    Jungle in a route that suits you. I clear the small camps first, then go for blue golem then red lizard.
    I highly recommend you have a point in Rolling Thunder before you go ganking. It's not too difficult to gank using volibear.

    However, it's not as simple as popping  Rolling Thunder and charge in guns (err... paws?) blazing.

    DON'T be an idiot and just fly in and attack (most of the points made here are not specific to just volibear, I've seen a LOT of idiots do the sort of things I will say not to do below).

    Analyse the battlefield before you charge in. Do your teammates know you are going in for a gank? Do they know who you are going to go for? Does your team have enough HP to gank? How many minions are there on each side and are they positioned to your advantage? Are you there to try and get a kill or save a teammate from dying? Try to predict how they will react, such the escape routes available to them as well as escape routes available to you if things go sour.

    Granted, you may not have enough time to think about all these questions in-game, but it comes with practice. Play enough games and this will all become second nature (admittedly, I'm still learning some of the things I'm preaching here).

    If everything seems good, pop  Rolling Thunder and go in.

    While charging in with  Rolling Thunder, watch what your team is doing. If your ezreal just fired a Mystic Shot, don't throw the enemy out of harm's way. Use the bonus MS to position yourself to throw them AWAY from safety, i.e. away from their ally/tower/bush. As a rule of thumb, always go for the one that's easier to kill (seems obvious, but you'd be surprised at some of the things you see). Make sure you ping whichever target you will be going for.

    Watch for how they react before dropping all your spells. Are they fighting? Are they panicking and trying to get away? What is the health status of all champions involved? What are the minions doing?

    Generally, they will either stay and exchange a few hits or run the moment you come out of the bush. Either way, you should have enough MS to get to the squishy and throw them back for your team to devour. If their reaction was to run the moment you appear, you can follow up your toss with Majestic Roar almost immediately for the slow, and the ally should be far enough away to not be able to help. If they stayed to fight, save  Majestic Roar for now. Either you will need it a bit later wen they DO try to run or if they target one of your friends and you need the slow to let them get away alive.

    As for Frenzy, I've seen bears use it the moment it's ready.

    BAD IDEA!!!

    Frenzy has a long cooldown, so realistically you will only get to use it once. Further, it deals more damage the more health the target is missing (as i mentioned, it's kinda like a scaled down Demacian Justice). Now, I'm not saying you should save it to KS, just that after 3 attacks, they're usually not missing that much health, so using it the moment it is available deals barely any damage and wastes a good ability. As a general rule, I would never use this when they have more than two thirds health and wait AT LEAST until they are on half.

    This is also a reason why you don't just stack HP. Yes, it will make  Frenzy hit like a freight train, but the long cooldown means you will only get one hit, and without any MR/armour, they will burst you down before you can get the 3 attacks needed to charge it up anyway. They might also buy Banshee's Veil...

  • Mid Game

    Small team fights are starting to break out now. You should have your Wriggle's Lantern, Mercury's Treads and if you're lucky perhaps a Giant's Belt as well. You have been getting the occasional blue buff for that brand on your team.

    You are fairly beefy, but...

    YOU ARE STILL NOT A TANK YET!!!

    Remember, volibear is quite item dependant. Currently, you can dish out quite a bit of damage and take quite a bit as well, but if you get focused, you're gone. That said, if there's no tower, you can usually be fairly safe to charge into a team fight with  Rolling Thunder and use  Majestic Roar and  Frenzy when suitable.
    However, your biggest weapon is now simultaneous Thunder Claws and Surge.

    Just the thought of your lightning rabies should be enough to scare the enemy team off.

    However, do keep cooldowns in mind. I've seen bears pop  Thunder Claws in a 1v1 and the enemy escapes right after, and the bear is in a team fight 30 seconds later with no ulti. This kind of thing makes me cry. Surge has an even longer cooldown.

    If you must pop  Thunder Claws in a 1v1, make sure that:
    1) you absolutely have to
    2) they're not going to get away
    3) you're fairly certain there's not going to be a team fight 30 seconds later.

    If your team is ganking one enemy and you pop  Thunder Claws, you're an idiot and should uninstall the game.

    Finally, always keep a clear idea of whether your passive Chosen of the Storm is up. It can save your life, but it can't save you from your own stupidity. Don't think you can 1v4 on the grounds of "my ulti can save me".

  • Late Game

    If the game has gone reasonably well, you are not just beefy, you are now a tank. Congratulations.

    Survivability should not be an issue for you now as long as you didn't just stack HP, but rather were smart and also got armour and MR. Your hits like a truck (not quite a freight train) and they are scared of your and Surge combo.

    Your only priority now (apart from winning the game, if you haven't already) is to keep your allies alive. Both teams are (most of the time) moving as a single unit. Suddenly, you see them charging at your team looking to start a fight.

    Pick out the enemy champ that poses the greatest threat to you (if any). It may be that xin with a [item=madred's bloodrazor], or malzahar with his Null Zone. Or it may be that lee sin that can completely destroy the squishier teammates if left unchecked.

    Pop  Rolling Thunder to initiate and pick out whoever you have



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