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Warwick rework guide: how to play, what to build and tips

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Apparently, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Warwick is a wolf-man who bites lots of people. He can also leap tall buildings small walls in a single bound.

Like most people, Warwick was the first champion I ever jungled with. His combination of easy sustain and easy ganks (post level 6) made him a god-send for learning how to be a good jungler. But over the years, the lovable wolf hasn’t aged very well. More often than not, he felt like a hindrance to the team he is a part of, and on the rare occasion he is strong...nobody is having a good time. Well, Riot has finally decided to go back and revamp our fluffy friend, and he feels great.

The Kit

Passive - Eternal Hunger

Riot’s Tooltip:

Surrender@20

How it works:

Warwick deals magic damage each time he attacks a target. When Warwick’s health drops below half, that magic damage will also heal him. The lower his health drops, the more he will heal. This works very similarly to how Warwick’s passive used to work. Essentially, it ensures we will be building attack speed and we will be using auto attacks a lot when playing Warwick. This lifesteal helps with sustain early on in the jungle, and makes Warwick a formidable duelist. If you want to go toe to toe with the wolf-man, you better make sure that you have some serious burst on hand, otherwise he will heal far faster than you can harm.

Q - Jaws of the Beast

Riot’s Tooltip:

Surrender@20

How it works:

Warwick bites a selected target. If Q is held down, he will dash behind the target as he is biting them. While Q is held down, Warwick will also follow any kind of movement spell, such as Flash or Arcane Shift. This bite does massive scaling damage as well as percent of health damage. Warwick will heal for 30% of the damage the bite does.

Jaws of the Beast is Warwick’s main damage tool, aside from his basic attacks. You will use this when you clear, when you duel, and when you gank. The burst on this is huge and if you can get in close enough to use it, you will be very hard to shake off, even during an early game gank. Remember to hold down Q for the added chase but be careful that you don’t Cha Cha Slide your way into the enemy team alone.

While this ability is fantastic in almost every situation, the range is very short, so be wary of getting kited around fights. Warwick is fast, almost certainly faster than his opponent, so pick your target and go. Be decisive and focus somebody down with Jaws of the Beast before you open your maw towards another juicy opponent.

W - Blood Hunt

Riot’s Tooltip:

Surrender@20

How it works:

This is, bar none, Warwick’s most complex ability. When a champion falls below 50% health, Warwick will be notified. The sides of the screen will glow with a red hue and a trail of blood will appear on the ground. This trail will lead to the target with the low health. While moving towards low health targets, Warwick gains movement speed. Warwick also gains a massive attack speed buff against low health enemies. Both the movement speed bonus and the attack speed bonus is increased against champions very close to death. Champions that are currently being hunted are notified by a small glowing wolf head floating above their character.

Blood Hunt also has an active component with a long cooldown. When Warwick uses his W he can force a Blood Hunt. The enemy champion nearest to him, regardless of their current health, will become marked by Warwick, and all of his movement speed and attack speed bonuses apply. When Warwick has no target for his W, extra seconds will be cut off the cooldown.

This is a complex ability that is very simple to use, mostly because it is all automated. What is important to understand with Blood Hunt is that it defines your playstyle. Warwick is at his best when he is fighting a target currently being hunted. As such, he is extremely useful for cleaning up fights, as long as he survives them. Blood Hunt is a near constant supply of information. Information that you, the player, should be using in order to maximize your efficiency. Hunt down low health players, allow the trails to lead you to gankable lanes and easy kills. Like any good dog, you should try and follow your nose whenever possible.

However, keep in mind that you will only be able to see the positions of low health enemies. Do not get baited into a bush by their entire team just because you were following a trail of blood. Fight the urge not to be completely reckless. A poor Warwick player will chase down any blood trail they come across. A smart Warwick player will use this information to better understand the target, quickly assess the map, and then choose whether or not to strike.

The active component of this ability also serves several purposes. The first is for easy scouting. If you are looking for a catch and suspect that someone is hanging out nearby, use Blood Hunt, and catch yourself a warding enemy support. Another great use for this is when you are entering a fight with your ultimate. Beginning a Blood Hunt before you pounce with R will actually increase your range...but we will get there soon enough. Use this skill to gain information and more efficiently take down targets. This is Warwick’s main asset. Learn to use it, communicate the information with your teammates, and you will stomp your opponents.

E - Primal Howl

Riot’s Tooltip:

Surrender@20

How it works:

When Warwick activates Primal Howl, he becomes much tankier, taking significantly less damage for a couple of seconds. Once those seconds are up, Warwick will arch his back and howl, fearing everyone around him. The damage reduction can also be cut short if Warwick hits E twice, causing the howl to happen sooner.

Are you familiar will Volibear’s E? Where he does damage in a circle and fears minions? Imagine for a second if that ability was good, and you would have Primal Howl. While this ability does no damage, it makes an already difficult to kill champion even harder to kill and gives him a fear. Scary stuff.

You want to use this ability when you get into a fight in order to reduce incoming damage. When the effect is over, you will even get some nice CC out of it as well. The reactivation for the early fear is both a blessing and a curse. Try not to think of E as just your fear button. The damage mitigation is very powerful, and the cooldown is fairly long. Do not just walk into a group of enemies and instantly try to fear them, you are wasting half of the ability. Try your best to be patient in fights without being predictable. If you find a opportunity to fear a bunch of enemies, go early, but if you can wait, you may survive a little longer than if you panicked and popped the fear.

Fun fact, if you activate Primal Howl before using your ultimate on someone, the fear will instantly pop upon arrival, scaring the hell out of everyone who isn’t your main victim. So, be sure to always prep this ability before you jump in with...

R - Infinite Duress

Riot’s Tooltip:

Surrender@20

How it works:

Warwick leaps in a target direction. If he lands on a champion, he will suppress them, beating them senseless three times, doing large amounts of damage and applying on-hit effects. All of this damage heals Warwick. Warwick’s leap range is determined by his current movement speed.

Basically, they took Warwick’s old ult, made it a skill-shot instead of targeted, and now it is unarguably 100% more badass. While your ult is available on Warwick, a red circle will appear in a radius around the champion, indicating your leap distance. If your movement speed fluctuates at all, the circle will grow or shrink. With Boots of Mobility and Blood Hunt alone, Warwick can really fly across a lane. Add in other speed boosts like a Youmou’s Ghostblade active and Warwick can soar across about a quarter of the map.

This ability combined with Blood Hunt makes Warwick a catch machine. Get a whiff of someone alone in your jungle and all of a sudden they are puppy chow. This ability is best used on a target that is isolated from a group, as Warwick can easily be interrupted and killed during this ability. Intelligent use of Infinite Duress could make for a constant string of 4 v 5 team fights in your favor. Find the member who is mis-positioning and punish that mistake instantly, especially if you have a team to back you up. That being said, diving into the enemy team alone is a really easy way to get yourself killed for no reason whatsoever. Be smart and patient on your hunts, and you will tilt the odds in your furry favor every time.

The Build

So, here is the deal. With Warwick you probably want to focus on building attack speed, movement speed, attack damage, and tanky stats. However, Warwick has a sizable AP ratio on his Q. Because of that, we are going to detail two separate builds in this guide. The first, should be your traditional, every day Warwick build. The second is cheesy as hell and pretty scary, especially if you like soloing Baron.

Traditional:

For a jungle item, you want to build yourself a Bloodrazor. Warwick life-steals when he auto attacks, and the combination of his Q and W makes him very sticky. For extra stickiness, I would pick up blue smite.

For boots, you want to get Boots of Mobility. Not only will it help you gank early, before you unlock your R, but it will also give you an extended jump radius as long as you ult from out of combat.

For your main damage item, picking up a Titanic or Ravenous Hydra will increase your farming ability and ensure that you do well in almost any situation. Both items are powerful in their own right, but the active allows you to reset Warwick’s auto-attack, a helpful trick for an auto-attack focused champ like Warwick.

Because of the auto-attack passive and the slow from the active, Blade of the Ruined King makes for a solid choice if you want some extra damage, life-steal, and stickiness. If you are doing well in the early game, pick this up.

For alternatives to your damage item, you could also build a Black Cleaver for the Phage passive. If you feel like making your ultimate leap even more terrifying, you could also pick up a Youmou’s Ghostblade for the active.

For some tank, you want to pick up a Dead Man’s Plate for sure. Not only is it a strong armor item, but the speed that you get from the momentum will help Warwick out quite a bit.

For MR, grab yourself a Spirit Visage. Warwick already has a lot of self healing from his passive, but he also heals quite a bit from the damage done by his Q. Picking up this item will allow Warwick to sustain against some serious punishment.

For your final item, grab yourself a Iceborn Gauntlet for the on-hit or a Randuin’s Omen for the insane tank and slow. For what its worth, if you find yourself struggling with mana early, you may want to pick up the Iceborn a little sooner.

Cheesy AP Build:

Runic Echoes, Lich Bane, Rabadon’s Deathcap, Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, Spirit’s Visage, Boots of Mobility. These are your tools in this nasty AP build. Warwick will chomp through stuff and has near infinite sustain with these items. This build is not necessarily practical, but it should at least be fun. If you want to be extra nasty, replace your boots with Nashor’s Tooth.

Conclusion

What is beautiful about this Warwick rework is he still feels like Warwick, in almost every way. I have spoken to countless people who have the same weird affinity for Warwick I do, the same pleasant memories. To see him be so lovingly recreated here is genuinely exciting. While he feels familiar enough to give me warm fuzzies about learning to jungle, he has finally been given the tools to make him a good champion and a valuable teammate.

This update is different from those past. Reworks like Yorick, Poppy, and Sion all turned weird, terrible champions into entirely new ones. While not as significant, even the Ryze update makes him feel fairly new and different. The difference between these other updates and Warwick, is that Riot has decided to keep Warwick’s chief identity: a life-stealing diver with incredible speed.

Warwick used to be able to run, dive, and scratch you forever and, well, he can still do that. But now he isn’t just annoying, he is lethal. Now, he isn’t just “press R to win,” he requires skill and offers counter-play. Warwick is the ideal rework of a champion that already had a strong central theme. You can play a game as reworked Warwick, and forget completely that he hasn't always been like this. Instead of focusing on what has changed in this rework, you can spend your time doing what everyone who plays Warwick has always loved to do: flash ulting the same, sad AD Carry over and over and over again.