IntroductionWelcome to my Solo Top Volibear guide. In game I am known as ball00nboy, currently a 1900 Elo player who plays Solo Top almost exclusively. You might be entering this guide thinking Volibear is underpowered, unable to see competitive play, and boring. It is my job to disabuse you. Contrary to popular belief, Volibear is actually quite powerful in both solo queue ranked and team queue ranked. In addition, his gameplay and character are both quite intriguing and have a ton of depth, which I will discuss later. While true that he may be just a tad underpowered overall, he still has his strong points.
Volibear is, quite accurately, the King of Skirmishes. He falls off late game, but early game he is a very powerful bruiser who excels at one-on-one dueling and small skirmishes because of his passive, displacements, execution, and massively underestimated AoE damage. Much of his damage is physical, but a hefty portion of it is magical, making him a hybrid damage dealer. By the time it becomes late game, his role shifts from a major force of burst damage to a mediocre-damage, high disruption off-tank who has powerful displacement and strong AoE slows. (I say off-tank because he has no natural tankiness, and thus, cannot perform the job of tanking as well as Rammus or Shen can). Volibear is an early game force, NOT a late game carry.
The reason why he doesn't see much play is because he feels clunky when you first start playing him, but after a couple of games you will get used to him and his damage output. He is very effective in ranked play because of his extremely broken laning and skirmish utility. He is able to dominate 90% of all other top laners during the early game, forcing the enemy to kneel before him, and if played correctly, can snowball the lead you have into a victory.
He counters a large number of top laners, some of which include:
As if it was not implied already, this guide will focus on how to play Volibear in the top lane, where he is able to farm to his heart's content. While his jungling is decent, there is no reason to pick him over any of the other faster and better ganking junglers. I build Volibear in a way that ensures that he is able to snowball his early game advantage to become unstoppable mid-game, while still having a large impact late game.
Reasons to Pick Volibear
- Poops on most laners because of high kill potential
- Kit makes him a phenomenal early game duelist and skirmisher
- Beefy--Skillset encourages health stacking
- Tons of both physical AND magic damage
- Good farming
- Makes for a decent off-tank
- Good disruption and crowd control
Reasons to NOT Pick Volibear
- No reliable sustain mechanisms in lane
- Demands expensive items and is highly on dependent on Masteries
- High cooldowns and no natural tankiness
- Susceptible to burst; Damage and tankiness falls off late game because of the above point
- Melee and short range--thus, easily kited by slows
- Must be played aggressively, otherwise he will fall behind
- Completely and absolutely destroyed by Ignite
This spell is way too good to pass up. As Volibear it's very important to make plays, which is what you use Flash for. This will also help make up for his lack of an escape, for top is a frequently ganked lane.
Alternative to Flash, I don't like it as much because you can't go over walls or instantly disengage; it all comes down to preference.
Reduces healing and gives you adds enough damage to your burst to ensure a kill during a duel. The only counterplay to Ignite is to Ignite back. Most top laners carry this spell nowadays so most of the time you will see yourself bringing this spell over Heal or Exhaust.
This is a good dueling spell as well. If your enemy does not carry Ignite, this is a very good pick, but it's very rare to see a top laner without Ignite. I used to prefer this spell over Flash, but it is way more important to be able to make plays than to be able to win one fight.
Also good if your enemy is very slippery or squishy and you need to keep them in place while already having the burst to kill them without Ignite.
It's good if you would like to play passively, make plays across the map.
RunesAs Volibear is a very versatile champion, there are very good rune options for him. Any combination of such runes would be optimal, IMO, but here are the more powerful rune combinations for him and I will discuss in which situations they are optimal. Refer to the lane matchups guide to determine the difficulty of the lane and thus which runes to use corresponding to the difficulty:
Standard, all-around, blind pick runes:
Flat Attack Damage Reds
Flat Armor Yellows
Flat Magic Resist Blues
Flat Movespeed Quints
Armor and Magic resist mitigates early game harassment and burst. Most top laners have hybrid damage, but some champions like Riven only deal physical damage. In which case, you could opt to substitute the Magic Resist for even more armor.
AD reds will give you last hitting power. Volibear has a very weak auto-attack and this extra AD is very helpful and almost mandatory if you are not an absolute god at last hitting. Movespeed is good because Voli has no reliable escapes, and every bit of speed helps in chasing or running from ganks.
vs Easy Bruisers:
Flat Armor Pen Reds
Flat Armor Yellows
Flat Magic Resist Blues
Flat Armor Pen Quints
When laning against bruisers, Armor Pen will give you the most damage out of everything else. Since most bruisers tend to be melee, last hitting should be no issue as you will likely not be zoned, so AD runes are not necessary.
vs Vladimir, Kennen, Rumble, etc.:
Flat Attack Damage Reds
Scaling Health Yellows or Flat Armor Yellows
Flat Magic Resist Blues
Flat Magic Resist Quints or Flat Health Regen Quints
When laning against manaless ranged mages, a rune setup like this is pretty much mandatory. If you have Armor Pen, you will be continually zoned and not get a single last hit, SO USE AD. All these mages are heavy harass and without this rune setup, you cannot hope to play the lane properly. They will all be difficult to engage on unless you can keep your health up, which is done with help from the Magic Resist or health regen.
vs Harder Bruisers:
Flat Attack Damage Reds
Flat Armor Yellows
Flat Magic Resist Blues
Flat Armor/Health Regen/Health Quints
I explain why AD reds are better in harder lanes in the previous section. This is recommended against harder bruisers like Lee or Nidalee.
Yep, these are the Rincent masteries. You can check out his Kayle guide here: http://www.solomid.net/guides.php?g=22452
I am convinced that these masteries are a lot stronger than 21/9/0.
Basically, by getting mastery points into the flat damage reduction, you take very little damage from minions, which allow you to freeze the wave and win trades. You sacrifice a small amount of damage for heaps of tankiness.
Equally as viable
Lowers damage output significantly, but boosts survivability. This spec is more useful if your lane is going to be a farm lane, or is undoubtedly a lost lane. In that case, play very defensively and farm passively so you can still remain strong going into late game. If the lane is not going to be aggressive and trading blows, there's no point in getting offense because your damage is relatively lower late game anyway. Regardless, if your team is lacking a damage soak, then this spec is more useful.
Provides utility such as movespeed and mana regen. This spec can be useful if you choose to be a team player and make lots of plays, but is generally not a good 1v1 spec. I still recommend the first spec, but it is all up to you and your personal preference.
Passive: Chosen of the Storm
Heals volibear for 30% of his Maximum Health over 6 seconds when he drops below 30% Health.
120 second cooldown
This passive is powerful, but countered hard by Ignite. Can save you in small skirmishes when you aren't being focused, but if there's five on you, then don't expect to be able to fall back on this minuscule regeneration. It's a form of lane sustain, but it's not reliable because you can't willingly and safely decide when this effect will activate. Will help you come out on top during duels, but keep in mind at all times that Ignite makes this passive nonexistent.
Q: Rolling Thunder
Volibear gains 45% Movement Speed while moving toward enemy champions. Lasts 4 seconds.
Volibear's next attack deals an additional 25 / 50 / 75 / 100 / 125 physical damage and flings the target behind him.
12/11/10/9/8 second Cooldown
Costs 40 Mana
Decent engaging tool, mediocre escape, strong disruption. It's not too strong because even the slightest of slows will hinder Volibear from catching someone, and the buff duration is not so long. The flip length is shorter than Singed's, but still useful.
Passive: Volibear gains 8% Attack Speed with each attack. Stacks up to 3 times.
Active: When Volibear has (3) stacks of Frenzy, he can bite an enemy to deal (90/140/190/240/290) (+20% of bonus Health) physical damage, increased by (1)% for each (1)% health the target is missing.
Cooldown 18 Seconds
Cost 35 Mana
Very, very strong skill. Early on it does as much damage as Garen's ultimate. Since this skill scales with Health, plenty of tank items will boost this skill's power. This can very quickly knock a squishy, or even a tank, out of a fight, resulting in a swift 5v4 advantage for your team.
The bite requires three auto-attacks before it can activate. Therefore, it's easy for these stacks to be reset in most chasing scenarios because it is difficult to stick to targets. To deal with this, it might be essential to use earlier in a skirmish while they're still in range, and not just to kill steal.
E: Majestic Roar
Volibear deals (60/95/130/165/200) (+60% of ability power) magic damage to nearby enemies and slow them by 30% for 3 seconds.
Cooldown 11 Seconds
Cost 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 mana
In my opinion, this is Volibear's best skill. I'll discuss why later. Slowing enemies allows for Volibear to control the positioning of the enemy and get more stacks and procs. Sometimes max this first.
R: Thunder Claws
Volibear channels the storm, causing all basic attacks for (12) seconds to deal (75/115/155) (+30% of ability power) magic damage, which chains to 4 nearby enemies.
Cost 100 Mana
Cooldown 100 / 90 / 80 seconds
This is a drastically underestimated ultimate. Compare this to Wit's End, which has 42 magic damage per attack. At level 1, this ultimate does 75 on-hit damage that spreads to nearby units, already beating Wit's End damage. This skill makes each and every bear whack potent and painful. At level 3, this skill does 155 damage per hit. There is no item or skill in the game that gives as powerful of an on-hit as this skill does.
Be wary when using this skill to farm, for the cooldown is unfavorably long at early levels.
Pre-Item Build Consideration: Ideal Stats for VolibearI will outline an idea of the optimal stats you should be investing in to optimize Volibear's role in the game.
Note that providing a full item build is difficult because Volibear has many viable builds. By providing you with the stats he can make the most use out of, from the best stats to the worst stats, you will be able to get a general idea of what kind of items he needs.
Health: The most important stat for Volibear, for he has two skills that scale off of HP: and . Stacking a lot of HP will make Volibear a lot stronger and beefy, but keep in mind that resists are needed to make Volibear not be shredded by high DPS. Good options for health include
Resists: Resists are a no-brainer, build according to the enemy team so that you can stay in their faces while your carries blow them up.
Cooldown Reduction: Important to constantly throw out CC and bites. Don't invest in a ton of CDR, because there are other important stats, but it's a good idea to get at least 15% CDR from items such as and .
Attack Speed: On-hits become stronger with attack speed, and is an on-hit. Only a small amount of attack speed is required. If you have too much, you will likely be too squishy to survive long enough to do anything significant. Good options for attack speed are
Movement Speed: Volibear is easily kited by slows, so every bit of movespeed helps Volibear stick to targets as well as catch those who have gotten away from him. Good options for movespeed are
Attack Damage: Attack Damage is not a good stat for Volibear because none of his abilities scale with AD. However, that does not mean it is entirely wasted on him. Some attack damage is useful so that his attacks still do a significant hurting later on, and the easiest way to get attack damage is to build , a very cost-efficient item that provides tankiness as well.
Item BuildsVolibear has several viable build paths and can make use of several stats, as shown in the above chapter. My signature Volibear build is to focus on taking advantage of your early game strength, dominating your lane, and then snowballing by building powerful mid-game items. After that, Volibear transitions into a tank.
Volibear's build paths are way too versatile to have a set item build and you MUST build according to the situation. I cannot provide you with a full-scale end game build example, but I can provide you with viable options under specific circumstances.
Boots are good in most match-ups. It allows for aggression and disengagement at your own discretion, opening up a lot of opportunities for kiting and chasing. Starting boots means you are able to handle harass from your lane opponent and have the speed to retaliate.
This item is for passive farming and heavy harass lanes. Take this when you want to sustain yourself or if your lane opponent does purely physical damage. This item builds into many things, but very few are really optimal for Volibear until much late into the game. For this reason, I still usually take boots over this.
*I usually end up selling my cloth armor by the end of the laning phase because it takes up an item slot otherwise*
Volibear has no natural defenses, so the shields give him the armor he needs versus most bruisers, as well as extra damage on Frenzy and sustain in health regen.
Gives every stat an early, aggressive Volibear needs: HP, attack damage, and lifesteal for sustain. This item was practically made for aggressive Volibear. Stronger autos means more damage, but it gives you less tankiness. Most of the time I will get this over Doran's Shields but it's all situational.
If the lane was lost hard, these items help you get back into the game. You can sometimes buy these items anyway, depending on if you want to build Shurelya's or Randuin's later on.
Would not always recommend, but good if you are pushing often, returns health on auto attacks.
All three options are good, obviously build depending on the situation. Mercs for heavy CC, Tabi for dueling bruisers, Zerkers if you desire to increase your damage output. Tabi and Zerkers are both very cheap and help a ton.
This item used to be very important for Volibear, but after the nerf to Atma's it is debatable whether or not this item is an absolute must-buy. In many passive lanes where you are just free farming, this item is very powerful to help you be significant in team fights. Aim for this item early and you will be powerful for the whole game.
If the situation turns out that it isn't best to buy Warmog's, buy these two items instead. Generally the phage can build into Trinity, but not always. Frozen Mallet is very expensive and not always necessary, so you generally do not upgrade into this until later. The Recurve bow builds into either Ionic Spark or Wit's End.
Mid-Game Damage Options:
****You can get any of these items instead of or along with Warmog's depending on the situation.
The ultimate snowball item. Get this item if you completely and absolutely crush your lane, and ONLY if you completely and absolutely crush your lane. It provides so many useful stats for Volibear that this item is hard to pass up if ahead. This lets you do tons of damage and makes sure you are an unstoppable force mid game. (Your cooldowns may be kind of long to abuse the passive, but the stats are good regardless, and you will only get this item if you absolutely crushed your lane anyway)
*Build , in that order.
Gives you HP and adds more splash damage! This item used to suck, but now it's good because they reduced the cost by a hefty amount. I would recommend this as your main damage item in many situations.
Good against mages, synergizes with ultimate, makes your auto attacks significant. I would get this item in most situations.
Mid Game Tank Options:
Team player item. If your team is winning hard, this will help amplify their power. This item is an inexpensive way to get dual resists, HP, and extra damage.
Volibear makes good use of this item's regeneration effect and CDR. Powerful against dual AP compositions and makes laning much easier versus Kennen and Vlad and the like.
When in doubt, HP is never a terrible stat. Builds into
Both very good items versus heavy auto attacks. Glacial Shroud gives CDR while Warden's Mail builds into an item with HP. The stats are more ideal in certain circumstances than others.
Yep. Just a simple white cape can save you from high burst. This can be upgraded later.
Late Game Options:
The infamous atmogs. Gives a lot of HP and armor, stats that the armored bear simply LOVES. The extra AD helps you stay a powerful damage force even without your ultimate up.
Upgrade warden/glacial into this when you have the chance. These items are recommended against heavy auto attackers and provide a hefty chunk of armor.
Not much to say here. Both are good magic resist options to build your Negatron into. Banshees will give extra damage on and Force of Nature makes you faster.
GA is a buffed-up version of Aegis. If you have tons of health already and are lack resists, this item will go a long ways to making you tankier. It does give you the second life, which is a decent bonus as well.
Gets rid of all debuffs, notably Ignite and other CC effects. The amazingness of this item cannot be put into mere words.
This is the only other damage item I would consider for late game. The stats are good and you benefit from each and every one.
A Deeper Look Into His SkillsVolibear seems straightforward to play. You run in, flip someone, hit them with lightning, slow them, bite them, win game. However, that is rarely, if ever, the case. Volibear can make use of many combos with his abilities in order to maximize his damage output as well as to take advantage of whatever situation. For this reason, he has a lot of depth in his gameplay and figuring out the best way to use his abilities takes practice and close knowledge of his abilities. All of his abilities have long cooldowns so you need careful usage in order to make him effective. We'll look into them, but first let me provide you with the skill priority order.
Your skill order should be this:
-> or -> or
Does this look confusing? Let me explain.
Always prioritize your ultimate because it increases your damage output by such a large amount. You can choose to max either W or E next. W is stronger in ganks because it gives you that extra damage needed to finish off a hopeless target, but its cooldown is terribly long, making it not that great of a laning tool. E is stronger in simple laning because it has insane poking, kiting, and pushing potential. If you choose to max W first, you can max either E or Q next. Max Q if you're constantly participating in skirmishes and you need the extra utility. Max E if otherwise. As long as you do not max Q first, you will be fine.
Mastering this skill is somewhat difficult because using it feels clunky. When you're facing away from someone, the speed boost is minimal, yet when you're hunting someone, the speed boost is absolutely phenomenal. There's such a great difference in speed that it feels awkward.
This spell hurts turrets and resets your auto-attack. In other words, you can get off two auto-attacks in the time it takes to get off one. This is useful for three reasons:
1. It provides 2 stacks very quickly
2. Double procs . How much extra damage is that? Try it, it's a ton.
3. Last hitting in succession.
One thing most people do not know about Rolling Thunder is that after you use the flip, you keep the movespeed for the rest of the duration. Why is that useful? Because then you can easily utilize a cool tactic known as Orbwalking, an example of which is provided below. Orbwalking is necessary to master if you want to abuse Volibear's potential.
After you flip them, you have the movespeed buff for another, say, 2 seconds. You can use that movespeed to take a few steps in front of the target so that you can attack them as they are running back to their tower, but they are forced to go through you first. After each attack, you have to cancel the final part of the animation (every attack has an animation; most attacks land in the middle of the animation, and you can cancel the rest of the animation after the attack lands by moving to a location) by moving forward a little again. This way, you can ensure that your enemy won't be able to run from you.
Pretty straightforward. You charge up 3 stacks and then you can bite someone, doing more damage depending on how low the target is. Efficiently charging up stacks will separate the good Volibear players from the great Volibear players. Having the Frenzy visual above your head gives off the impression that you are currently a huge threat.
To claim 3 stacks, abuse the attack timer resetting of Rolling Thunder for an instant two stacks, with an extra attack somewhere to get your third one. Keep in mind that Frenzy is on a high cooldown, so you have to make sure to use it smartly. You do not ALWAYS have to use this skill to finish someone off. You can use this skill for harassment as long as you are sure that it will be up the next time you engage someone.
In many situations, you max Frenzy because the damage it deals is absolutely incredible. Note that this skill is very low range and use it before they run out of range, otherwise you might never get the chance again.
Many other situations will require you to max Majestic Roar first, which is fine as well.
Majestic Roar does not seem all too impressive, but it is the rubber band that bundles up Volibear's entire skillset. In my opinion, this is Volibear's BEST and most important skill. A crucial thing to note is that it HAS NO CAST TIME WHATSOEVER. You can use this skill in the middle of any other action without lag or delay, which is useful for so many circumstances. Going back to Orbwalking, if you use this skill while doing orbwalking, you'll have a much easier time cancelling your auto attack animations and sticking to your targets.
The reason why this skill ties all of Volibear's skills together is that the slow is so powerful that he has a means of staying in melee range in order to let loose his entire wrath upon everybody.
Now, as an AoE minion fear, Majestic Roar is also useful. If you engage on someone in lane, you will likely take minion aggro, which adds up to a lot more damage than you would think. This skill will halt all minion aggro for 3 seconds, basically giving you a window of three whole seconds to inflict all of your pain onto your enemy without minion punishment.
Maxing this skill means you are either losing your lane or passively farming. If you so decide to max this skill first, you can use this to push the lane and save your towers from a mob of minions. Having no cast time, this skill is great poke-harass if maxed early, because it does highly underestimated damage and is easy to land. The three second slow usually prevents the enemy from retaliating.
Thunder Claws increases Volibear's model size and gives him unprecedented on-hit AND AoE damage every time he auto attacks. An increased model size makes him an easier target to attract focus, which is what you should be trying to do mid to late game.
When activated, try to combine this with an AA+Q to get off two procs in quick succession. This combo makes for a ton of burst that is truly under appreciated. Each auto attack you inflict upon your enemy matters. Remember that at Rank 1, this skill does 30 more damage than Wit's End, which is, by itself, a crazy damage source.
I generally would not recommend using this for farming because the cooldown is sort of long at early levels, but if you are pushed heavily to your tower and need to push the wave out to go home, feel free to activate this skill.
This skill hits 4 targets, including the one you are attacking. The lightning bolts spread like a chain to three other targets. The bolts prioritize Champions, so keep this in mind if someone gets out of melee range with 40 HP after you Frenzy'd them. You can blast a nearby minion and the chain lightning will spread to the champion, securing the kill. I have done this on multiple occasions only to laugh my ass off and feel good about myself for being so innovative.
An additional perk of this skill is that its activation has around a .5 second animation in which you roar at the sky and flex your muscles, pausing any movement. I say perk, because you are able to cast during this time, enabling you to slow nearby enemies while you are showing off your bulging biceps to keep them in range. Sometimes the .5 seconds it takes to activate this skill will only let the enemy escape from you.
This passive is a cool cat, but has the disadvantage of being ignored and weakened. When you drop below 30% HP, you heal 30% of your HP over six seconds. The regeneration effect is amazing; you can take many hits in a 1v1 and heal all of it back, so it looks like you took no damage. Because this skill scales with HP, it'll be weaker early game when you're not building any HP items. However, it does not mean it's still not strong.
In small skirmishes, this passive will truly shine. Your enemies will essentially have 130% of Volibear's health to chunk through in order to kill him. In large scale team fights, however, Volibear can be focused and this passive will not come close to saving him. Burst damage will absolutely destroy Volibear.
Moreover, Ignite destroys this skill. At early levels, Ignite cancels out such a large portion of Volibear's passive that he only ends up healing about 10-20 FLAT HP (taking into account the true damage from Ignite) If not for Ignite, this passive would be an incredibly powerful skill and Volibear would see huge play. This does not mean you should not play Volibear, however. His strengths lie within the rest of his kit. Chosen of the Storm is icing on the pie.
Now, this is the kicker: If your enemy does NOT have Ignite, it is impossible to lose an early 1v1. Utterly and absolutely impossible. The amount of healing your passive does when it is not reduced by Ignite is multiplied by nearly ten. Try to bait Ignite before your passive activates, so that you get the full effect when you need it.
Note: Sometimes, kiting and juking is necessary for you to survive long enough to fully benefit from this.
Combos/How to EngageHarassment when target is medium distance away: Activate > flip > AA > > AA > AA > (make sure to orbwalk!)
Harassment when target is far away: Activate > > flip > AA > AA >
Harassment, light poking: Walk up to them > > run away
Engage to kill, target is far away: Activate > flip > > AA > > AA > AA > (if he survives with 10 HP, hit a minion if he is out of range to get the lightning to spread to him!)
Engage to kill, target is melee range: Activate and at the same time (you can cast E during the R charge up time) > AA > AA > > Flip > AA as many times as you can >
When jungler comes to gank, YOU initiate because you can displace them: > flip > > AA's > (if you have it) >
OR... walk up to them > > AA's > when they flash away >
If you initiate team fights: > > Flip > > Go into middle of enemy team and tank them > > AA's > low HP high-priority target.
If someone else initiated team fights, make sure to disrupt: Activate and at same time > AA's > sometime in between > high-priority target.
Make sure you use R when you are able to hit a high number of people, and W to finish off high priority low health targets.
Lane MatchupsRelatively arranged by difficulty
Note that my suggestion on which skill to max first is based on the expected scenario.
If your jungler is ganking often and you are winning the lane even slightly, max .
If you are losing the lane or it is mostly even, max .
Oh man, this champion is an overpowered champion to lane against. He counters you in nearly every single away. Any type of harassment you try on him, he will sustain back so quickly. You cannot engage on him because he will slow you and then jump away, but he can engage on you whenever he feels like it and come out on top because of his superior damage and sustain. You never want to lane vs a Lee Sin. The only way to win is if you get a gank, and even then you will likely have a rough time.
- You can build gold/10 so you can be somewhat useful late game
- Just try to farm, you cannot hope to kill him in any normal scenario
- Ask for ganks
- Don't expect to win
This champion is pretty strong. His burst poke and healing is insane. Most Reneketons will charge up their fury bar, slice in, stun you, slice the air, and then dash away. This combo is extremely infuriating to play against. You have to wait until his skills are on cooldown or until he uses his stun before you can fight him. This champion falls off late game, but so do you. It's urgent that you play this match-up very well.
- Bait his stun before you fight him
- Do not just let him poke you with his skill combo. Fight when his skills are off cooldown
- His ultimate is deadly, but so is yours
- Build a LOT of armor
Fizz is the rapist of all healing. Be careful when fighting him at low HP. He has decent poke and an annoying escape, but if you manage to get ahold of him you can do good damage. Max W because you will want to burst him over poking him down slowly, because he can poke back harder.
- Try to evade his ultimate at all costs
- Do not fight him when you are low
- You can potentially beat him in a 1v1
- Build health
I am actually not sure what to say about this matchup. Fiora has deceptively powerful dueling capabilities and you should not try to fight her when she has her buffs up. This lane seems to go either way for me whenever I play it, so my only advice is to be aware that she has high damage and only engage her when her cooldowns are up.
- Her parry can turn the tides of a duel
- Be careful of her ult
- She's also slippery
- Squishy so you can kill her if you can lock her down
Jarvan has very high base stats and also good poke. It is mandatory to bring flash so you can escape his ultimate. He has almost as much damage as you when you do not have your ult, so take caution in dueling him.
- Farm passively, he is very difficult to 1v1
- Do not fight him when you are hit with Dragon Strike or he has his Standard out.
- Ask for a gank
Decent lane. As long as you are aware and careful of his huge tiger proc damage, the lane is easy to handle. After level 6 you do way more damage, and even before you are capable of doing more damage if you use for harass. As with all lanes, don't take free hits and you will come out on top. The catch is if he maxes out turtle you have no hope of killing him.
- Don't take free tiger damage
- He has massive sustain, so keep him on his toes
- He has no blink so is easily gankable and not very hard to stick to
- If he maxes turtle you're screwed
Jax can dodge every attack for 2 seconds, making Volibear unable to do damage for that period of time. Once Jax hits 6, his burst will start hitting like a wrecking ball. If you fight him back, you have to Exhaust him so he bursts for less damage. Max out E to poke him because you cannot attack him like you normally can to other match-ups.
- Exhaust him when engaging
- He is weak before 6
- Your auto-attacks are useless, so poke him with Majestic Roar
- Try to dodge his stun
Riven has annoying poke and disruption. At level 6 she does a ton of burst damage with her ult, and has the potential to burst you down from full. Before that, she is somewhat easy to handle as long as youdo not tank her full combo. Bait her Q out and then you can fight her.
- Build armor
- She is incredibly slippery and hard to stick to--max E
- Do not tank her full combo
- Watch out at level 6, her damage skyrockets
Yorick is not too difficult. Most people have the perception that Yorick is an immovable beast, but he is is not any more difficult to burst down than anyone else. Volibear's roar will stop his ghouls from hitting you for a whole three seconds, and Yorick does not have the natural tankiness to trade hits with Volibear. However, you cannot just let Yorick heal his health back. You have to keep playing aggressively to win.
- Roar his ghouls!
- He runs OOM very quickly early in the game
- Play very aggressively
- Ask for early gank. Yorick is incredibly susceptible to ganks.
Although he is ranged, you will outdamage him in all confrontations as long as you have skills up. For this reason, you need to force fights. He is very hard to catch with lightning rush, but as long as you dodge his Q's his damage/harass is low, and once you start getting MR/Health, there is no way he can match up to you.
- Try to bait his lightning rush somehow, or just hope you're faster.
- Bring Exhaust and use it during his ult.
- Stack Health/MR!
Same thing applies to Rumble as Kennen, he is hard to catch, but you can destroy him once you do. His damage will only be high if you LET him hit you.
- His damage is only high when he combines his flames with his autoattacks and spears, otherwise it is very weak
- Run out of his ult as he casts it
- He is exceptionally weak and susceptible to ganks before his Spellvamp gun
This is a simple enough lane. You have to take his attacks until you hit around level 3, and then you can outdamage him heavily. Vladimir can harass you hard as you start getting levels in, so we max E to give you stronger CC and poke. He can sustain it back sort of quickly, so you will need to keep hitting him with E to keep his health at a manageable level. You can also max W if you are winning the lane hard, for more burst.
- Build MR
- You can duel him and he can't really kill you after you get a lot of MR
- Be wary of his sustain and harass
- Keep his health at a dangerous level
Volibear might be one of the only hard counters to Olaf. The trick is to not get hit by his Axes and he will have no way to get close to you. When you start getting some health, his true damage won't be so powerful and you can definitely win in a battle. Take Ignite over Exhaust because exhaust doesn't mitigate his true damage and he cannot be slowed.
- Dodge axes!
- Build HP
- Don't let him get free hits
- You can zone him because he needs to auto attack to sustain, which means you can punish him when he gets close
You can destroy Gangplank past a certain point. His Q harass will be very hard to deal with in early levels because you are not very powerful, so you must have early armor and a lot of health potions. Once you hit level 4 or 5, you can start fighting him. Make sure to use all of your skills to maximize how much damage you deal, because it will be huge compared to Gangplank's, who will only do a lot of damage if you let him hit you.
- Play passively until 4 or 5. Try not to take damage unless there is no helping it
- Bait his fruit so that he has no way to escape
- Do not fight in his ultimate
- He will only do damage to you if you let him hit you
- You are stronger than him in a 1v1 around level 5/6
The hardest counter to Irelia is, perhaps, Volibear. Her sustain (which also got nerfed) cannot hope to keep up with his burst harass. There should also be very few scenarios where Irelia is able to 1v1 Volibear because his damage far surpasses hers. For this reason, Heal is not necessary, but still not bad to bring.
- Do not let her sustain back, keep her on her toes
- Stack health to make her true damage less threatening
- Merc treads so she cannot disengage from you
Early Game/LaningIf your team decides to invade, take a point into Q and follow them. If you manage to catch a straggler, a flip will surely result in his death. After the early invades, make sure to help leash your jungler if he starts on your side.
I will strongly urge you to get an early jungle gank. Top lane snowballs incredibly hard from just a single kill, and that kill can put you ahead by so much.
At level 1, Volibear is weak in lane because his skillset has not been completely developed. Spend this time passively getting last hits. Try not to take unnecessary damage and do not retaliate if stricken, because you are weak and you should feel weak.
MAKE SURE TO FARM! Never miss farm just to harass. It's not worth it. Carefully take the time to figure out when it is optimal to harass and when it is not. It means all the difference in gold gain.
By level 3, you should have one point into all three of your skills. If you so choose, you may play aggressively here. The general combo is to flip them, use E, auto-attack them, and then bite them. This leads to considerable damage. Be aware that if they choose to retaliate, you might take an equivalent amount of damage. For this reason, I do not suggest playing aggressively until around level 5 or 6.
By level 4, if you are skilling , your burst damage will be insane. You can walk up to them and bite them when they are around 70% health and it will still do a chunk of damage. Note that the cooldown is long so use it sparingly and carefully. If you are skilling , be very passive, but don't be afraid to use this skill to poke. Remember that the opponent usually cannot retaliate when all you do is press E and run away. The damage definitely adds up so do not undermine its impact.
By level 6, when you have your ultimate, you can engage in a full-scale duel. You will likely win because your auto-attacks will hurt for so much. Do not be afraid to use your summoner spells.
Remember that Volibear has no reliable sustain. High sustain characters will beat you if all you do is play passively. It is essential to be aggressive against high sustain champions to prevent them from healing and shut them down.
- Farm enough for early Doran's items and health
- Stay alive
- Attempt to deny CS
Mid Game/SkirmishesBy this time, you should have a couple of Doran's Items and some other health item, like a Phage or Giant's Belt. You should be very beefy and your should hit like a truck. Otherwise, you should have plenty of resists.
Keep farming carefully. If you're still laning, you should be able to go head-to-head with whoever you're laning against, and win. Do not let your lane opponent heal or lifesteal; make sure to keep zoning and pressuring. Keep your lanes warded at all times to avoid ganks. Keep your own lane pushed to prevent him from leaving.
If your team needs you, it's worth it to leave your lane to help out. (Make sure your lane is pushed!) By this time you will start engaging in small skirmishes. Make sure your ultimate is up for those situations. Again, the AoE damage you deal from Thunder Claws and Majestic Roar is drastically underestimated.
Goals for skirmishes:
- Stay alive
- Try to flip high damage squishy if possible
- Positioning is more important than aiming for the high damage squishy
- Keep auto-attacking to get more thunderbolts
- Bite the lowest health target to give your side an advantage
- Try not to tank the initial burst because you won't survive it
Late Game/Team FightsYou should have your major items at this point. You should be very strong and hard to kill if you farmed properly. Make sure that you and your team keeps all essential points warded: Baron, buffs, bushes. This is the time where it's most important to secure Baron buff, for that is all it takes to turn a game around.
If you want the right to Baron, you are going to have to win a team fight.
These are your goals for a team fight:
- Try to kill carry
- Auto-attack as much as possible
- Tank as much damage as you can without dying
- Keep your own carry safe, peel with Rolling Thunder and Majestic Roar
- Bite lowest-health target!
- Remember to position well; attack the tank if you have to.
Final CommentsI hope after this, you appreciate the Bear more for being a champion with a lot of depth. Thanks for reading and I wish you success with my advice!
Updates2/1/2012 - Guide released.
2/2/2012 - First wave of matchups released.
2/4/2012 - Polished up itemization options and updated matchups.
2/13/2012 - Updated items. Removed Wit's End from core.
3/5/2012 - Revamped wave 1
3/27/12 - Revamped wave 2
4/5/12 - More updates.
4/9/12 - More updates
5/4/12 - Approved!
7/19/12 - Featured!