Wazzabi's Warwick Guide
--- Personal Qualifications ---
I began playing towards the end of closed beta. Warwick was the first hero I ever chose in game, and after trying all of the other heroes available I eventually found myself continually choosing him. I have consistently maintained my presence in the top 100 elo and constantly play against the top players in the game. I have over 350 games played as Warwick and maintain a 2:1 win ratio overall. I solo queue 85% of the time and will occasionally queue with 1 or 2 friends. My goal with this guide is to show that it is very possible to win games with Warwick, as well as beat some of the top players/teams regardless of his current “underpowered” label. Anyway, I hope this helps those of you that would like to give him a shot…
There are a few key points I’d like to make before even suggesting that you choose Warwick at champion select:
1. You WILL be queue dodged. I’d say at least 50% of all queues you join will result in someone complaining about your hero choice and telling you to kill yourself/uninstall.
2. You WILL be blamed. If they don’t dodge you, you will be blamed for EVERYTHING that goes wrong in the game. If you lose, it’s your fault. If you win, it had nothing to do with you. If a tower falls, it’s your fault. If someone on your team dies, it’s your fault. If you killed someone on the other team, it was a ks.
3. You WILL be hated. I kid you not, people will literally give up simply because Warwick is on their team. Some will afk, some will rage quit, some will even charge the enemy tower while screaming “HAHAHA WARWICK IS NOOB”.
If for some reason you still feel that you want to try Warwick and that you can handle the above mentioned “wrath of the ignorant” as I like to call it, then please read on…
With that being said let's get to his skills.
Q - "Hungering Strikes" - Strikes an enemy for the greater value between 75 / 125 / 175 / 225 / 275 (+1 per ability power) and 8 / 11 / 14 / 17 / 20% of the target's maximum health (can only do flat damage to monsters), and heals Warwick for 100% of the damage dealt.
This is Warwick's bread and butter ability. It is also one of the most amazing tank killing abilities in the game. Remember this is 20% of the target's MAXIMUM health so it works equally well regardless of the target's current hp's. I'd also like to point out that this ability is ranged.
W - "Hunters Call" - Warwick lets out a howl that inspires all allied champions. This increases Warwick's attack speed by 50% and all friendly champions' attack speed by 25% for 6 / 9 / 12 / 15 / 18 seconds.
This skill is GLOBAL. No matter where you are on the map it will buff both yourself and all of your teammates. Excellent for killing towers (or helping your teammates kill towers).
E - "Bloodscent" - Warwick senses enemy champions under 50% life within 1,500 / 2,300 / 3,100 / 3,900 / 4,700 distance of him; Upon sensing an enemy at low life he will gain 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40% Movement Speed.
This is a levelable passive ability. Basically when an opposing champion comes within a certain range of you and is below 50% health, you will gain visibility of him on the minimap, as well as an increased movement speed. Sadly you cannot see stealth heroes, but you will still gain the movement speed if they are below 50%. So if you notice you have the buff, but can't see anyone, there is a stealther in your midst!
R - "Infinite Duress" - Warwick lunges at an enemy Champion, stunning them for 2 seconds. While they are stunned, Warwick quickly strikes the target 6 times for 33% of his attack damage plus 30 / 50 / 70.
Ah, Warwick's ultimate. This is a targetable, ranged ability. It will stun the target for two seconds and attack them 6 times very very fast. It's important to notice that warwick's damage is significantly reduced (to 33% + 30/50/70) during this time. He does, however, actually attack the target 6 times. This means that any on hit effects are also applied SIX times, which is amazing. For example if you have a Black Cleaver (-12 armor per hit), a Madred's Bloodrazor (-4% of max health per hit), etc it WILL apply these effects 6 times very quickly. This can make for insanely potent direct damage.
Passive – “Eternal Thirst” - Each of Warwick's attacks will heal him for 5/10/15 health. Each successive attack against the same target will restore increasing amounts of health to Warwick.
His passive is really negligible for 95% of the game. The only time it comes in handy is for early game jungling. Each time you hit a creep you will steal 5/10/15 health, and each consecutive hit will increase this amount ( I believe it’s up to 4x the original amount). After about lvl 5, you will most likely completely forget you even have this ability. ( This is about the only aspect of this hero that I believe to be truly underpowered. I hope they buff it in the future.)
--- RUNES ---
This part is up to you. I’ll tell you what I go as well as why in a second, but I wanted to point out some important info that I’ve gathered from experience. First, EVERYONE and their mother hates Warwick. They will tell you he is the worst hero in the game, they will tell you your rune selection sucks, your masteries blow, and they will tell you that you are just simply “doing it all wrong”. IGNORE THEM. They are just mad because they have tried and failed and don’t have the balls to go outside the box in search of success.
I personally use attack speed and armor penetration runes. I like to mix and match to the point where creeps take maximum damage and I attack fast enough to keep my health high and eliminate the creeps quickly. (Try and aim for 25-35% AS, and 5-15 Armor Pen). Once you have a few games under your belt you’ll see what works best against which creeps.
--- MASTERIES ---
I beg of you, and I mean BEG. DO NOT go deep into the Offense tree. You will be destined for failure. To be consistent I strongly suggest putting points into the following masteries:
-“Plentiful Bounty” – bonus gold from smite as well as a lower cooldown
-“Sunder” – gives you 6 armor penetration
-“Offensive Mastery” – you do 4 additional damage to minions
-“Awareness” -- +5% experience
-“Utility Mastery” – increase the duration of neutral buffs by 30%
I personally run 16 – 0 – 14, and I like it very much. Again, it’s up to you, but I’ve found the above mentioned masteries the most useful.
--- ITEMIZATION ---
Must have items:
Boots of Mobility
Zeal -> Phantom Dancer
--- ITEM BUILD ORDER ---
I aim for a “Madred’s Razor” as my first combined item every game (having the ability to hit creeps for 500 extra damage every few swings is priceless). There a few different openings that I use to achieve this.
Most often I will purchase a “Long Sword” and 1 “Health Potion”. You a very welcome to grab a “Cloth Amor” first if you want to grab more than one potion early. It’s really a matter of preference.
Every once in awhile I’ll grab a “Doran’s Blade” for additional health and a little extra life steal. This is a great item if the enemy has another jungler that will most likely try to gank you. (Shaco is usually the most common). The health and small amount of life steal will ensure that you don’t drop too low while creeping early and will not be as susceptible to ganks.
Once your first item is completed (Madred's Razor I hope) you'll want to spend your next 350g on "Boots of Speed". I usually won't upgrade these for quite awhile, as Blood Scent will do most of that work for you.
I used to just rush a “Madred’s Bloodrazor” but I’ve wised up a bit. If the opposing team has a good amount of magic damage/mana users I try to go “Recurve Bow” -> “Null-Magic Mantle” -> “Wit’s End”. I love this item because it’s a very cheap source of damage, attack speed, and magic resistance. (it also adds extra damage to your early ultimates and can render low mana characters useless).
If you decided to go “Wit’s End” first, then I would suggest finishing your “Madred’s Bloodrazor”. (I usually like to go “Pickaxe” -> “Recurve Bow” -> Bloodrazor.)
Rest of Items:
The rest of the items are very dependant on what’s going on around you. If you are not the focus, I would suggest going DPS items such as “Atma’s Impaler” and “Malady”. If they are gunning for you every engagement go “Banshee’s Veil” or “Thornmail” depending on the opposing team’s hero composition. If they have annoyingly fast heroes, try getting a “Phage”, then a “Zeal”, then turn the “Phage” into a “Frozen Mallet” when your bank roll lets you (usually lizard buff/blood scent will suffice, but if not, these are very strong items to add to remedy this).
As far as boots are concerned, I would choose "Mercury Treads" if there is a lot of CC/magic damage in the game. Every once in awhile there are games where this isn't the case and I like to grab a "Boots of Mobility" for the ridiculously absurd run speed you'll gain.
--- SKILL ORDER ---
I usually go the following:
1. Hunter's Call
2. Hungering Strike
3. Hunter's Call
4. Hungering Strike
5. Blood Scent
6. Infinite Duress
7-18. Gametime decisions. If i'm chasing a lot I would pump Blood Scent, If the enemy is tanky pump Hungering Strike. There's no real wrong answer here.
--- GAMEPLAY STRATEGY --
You can usually divide a game into three main phases when playing Warwick.
Phase 1 - The (Very) Early Game (Jungling)
This is the more formulaic part of the game for any decent Warwick player. The health/damage/armor of creeps(minions), as well as your own health/damage/armor/mana all come into play in this phase. Most Warwicks you come across will simply focus on damage. Whether it be stacking armor pen runes, going deep damage tree, using rally, etc. I’ve found the most success comes from balance. You want to have enough armor pen to reduce most creep armor to zero, enough health to survive certain creeps early on, enough attack speed to keep your health steady as well as finish off creeps quickly, and enough mana regen to make sure you can keep on moving.
Another important part of this phase is awareness. Be very aware of the following:
--Does the enemy team have anyone jungling? (smite on the load screen is a good tipoff)
--Check enemy inventories to see if they haven’t spent all of their money (this is a good sign that they’ve placed wards)
--Always watch the mini-map, especially when engaging a large creep. If you go for golem and you see the enemy leave their lane near you, be ready to run.
--Know when to use your smite. If there is a chance an enemy could steal a buff from you, save your smite, if you know you’re fine and all 5 enemies are on the map, use it asap to start the cooldown again.
Until you get used to what you're doing I find it best to start at the smaller creeps and work your way across the map. Efficiency is key here. Also make sure you're not "overly" obvious as to where you're going. Switch it up every game so that opponents don't know where you'll be. The best thing you can do is make them waste time looking for you, all the while you and your teammates are gaining experience and they're not.
This part of the game is over very quickly, but it’s also crucial to master so that you don’t ever fall behind. The best way to learn is through trial and error. Find out what works for you and get comfortable with it.
Phase 2.A - Find the Weakling and Gimp Him Hard
This is by far Warwick’s strongest phase. This phase can begin as early as lvl 3, or as late as lvl 6. It’s a judgment call. The idea here is to pick a hero on the map that you can kill easily. There’s two ways to decide which hero to focus. The first is the hero itself. Good targets are usually low hp heroes and/or those with relatively low escape potential. I personally like Zilean, Twisted Fate, Ashe, Ryze, Nunu, Soraka… you get the idea. The second option is to look at your teammates. If their crowd control/killing ability will make it easy for you to gank, pick someone in their lane.
The main idea here is to gimp the living hell out of your target. Make it so every time he enters a lane, he’s either food for you, your teammates, or is forced to do nothing but tower hug. Having one of the enemies so gimped and underleveled that they just die instantly in team fights is so unbelievably beneficial and almost guarantees a win.
Phase 2.B – Hold Down the Fort
Phase 2.A is easiest if your teammates are solid. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes you have a feeder, someone using a new hero, or even a good player that just made a mistake. When this happens you will have to exit the jungle and protect the towers, allowing your teammates time to buy, heal up, get back to the lane, etc. The best way to do this is snag the golem buff (if you haven’t already) and just be a presence in a lane. Last hit creeps when you can, attack the enemy if they try to hit the tower, and use your golem buff to spam Hungering Strikes to keep your health up. Warwick is NOT a good lane harass hero. Just do your best to sit tight, gain exp, and protect the tower until your teammates arrive.
Phase 3 – Team Fight Time
This is about the time where the laning phase ends. The transition into this phase comes on quickly, but is usually caused because too many towers have fallen and the lanes are no longer safe to farm in. Basically what happens now is teams will roam in groups of 4/5 and hope to catch the other team off guard. Blood Scent really shines here If anyone drops below 50% health for any reason, you gain sight of them and the area around them. This is HUGE. The range on this ability is almost half the map. This forces the enemy team to:
A) have the low hp player go back to the fountain and heal, in which case they will be a man down, allowing you to engage the other team or push a tower/farm minions.
B) continue to roam together, in which case you have sight over everything the other team does, allowing you to choose the perfect time/target to engage, push a lane, etc.
C) (rarely the case) the player is oblivious and wanders off alone in which case you gank him and either take baron or push an inhibitor
If there are no “soft” engagements where an enemy drops below 50%, usually one team will push another back to a tower or one team will decide to do baron. There will be a stalemate until someone decides to initiate. You have two choices here. Either sit back, and let your teammates engage, then pick off the stragglers or become the initiator. In my opinion, this decision should be based mainly on your items. If you’ve got a “beefy” build (defensive items such as Banshee’s Veil, Warmog’s Armor, Frozen Mallet, etc) then your best bet is to initiate. If you’re a “holy s&!@ warwick just one shotted me” build (Bloodrazor, Wit’s end, Atma’s Impaler, Malady, etc) then I would sit back and perform the janitorial cleanup duties.
If you choose to be the initiator, let me make one thing clear, you WILL die 90% of the time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you can use your ultimate to insta-gib the enemy carry, your team should have an easy job finishing off the rest. Remember, Warwick IS NOT a carry (this is where 95% of all warwick players fail, they think they are the second coming of tristana).
If you choose to sit back and wait, you have to be VERY aware of what’s going on. Watch for enemy cooldowns. Make sure you won’t have your ult interrupted, or make sure to interrupt strong enemy ultimates (Fiddlesticks, Nunu, Katarina, etc). Patience and awareness are your two strongest attributes at this point. You don’t want to wait too long to where your team is all but wiped and you’re a dead man walking, but you don’t want to jump the gun before the other team has committed and have them turn and insta-gib you before you do anything. Again, experience comes into play here.
--- Final Comments ---
You want to end the game as quickly as possible. Almost every damage dealing hero in the game scales better with max items than Warwick. If they have a Trynd, Ashe, Tristana, Yi, etc and the game goes 45 minutes, you’ve probably lost. The good news is, however, that most of my games end @ 25-30 min mark, where Warwick is at his peak.
Remember, hardly anyone plays Warwick. So if someone tells you how to play, either ignore them, or politely inform them that you know what you’re doing. There is nothing more hilarious than someone saying “your build is horrible” or “you’re playing him wrong” when they refuse to play him because they’ve “heard” he’s a horrible hero.
If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions about this guide please feel free to friend me/shoot me a tell in game. (summoner name is Wazzabi).
--- Summoner Skills ---
Tons of options here…
The most popular I’ve seen is rally/smite. This allows you to take a large creep (Golem, Lizard) at level 1. The problem I’ve found with this is .. well.. that’s ALL it’s good for. Many times I’ve found myself using the rally, securing Golem/Lizard and then not finding another good use for Rally for the rest of the game. Also, 99% of the time if you don’t get rally, someone else on your team will.
Some builds don’t even utilize smite. I just… can’t stress enough.. how bad this is… If you can make it work at high elo, all the power in the world to you. I’ll get to why I think it’s so crucial in a bit…
The runner up choice here seems to be exhaust/smite. I ran this for quite awhile and liked it a lot. It’s great for counter ganking that stealther that thinks he’s oh so clever. There’s no real problem with going this route. If you like it, go for it. It’s not bad by any means.
My personal choice is Flash/Smite. I tried Flash awhile ago just to see how it would be. I LOOOOOOOVE it. I find I use it almost EVERY single time it’s up. It’s great for initiating from the brush (flash/ult is amazing when the enemy cannot see it coming). It’s great for enemies that use flash (and trust me 90% of all players in the high elo bracket use flash). Counter flashing someone is one of my all time favorite things to do. It also has it’s obvious defensive uses as well. The number of times flash gets me a kill/saves me from death in a game far surpasses what any other summoner skill has ever done for me (except smite). There are also a few other uses for Flash, but you’ll have to find them out on your own (I don’t want to give away all my secrets J)
Now on to Smite. Smite is the one summoner skill in the game (and I’m talking about on any hero I’ve ever played) that I WILL use every single time it’s up. Smite gives you so many advantages as Warwick. The first and most important is speed. Every 75 or so seconds you will gain 5 extra gold and instantly kill a small creep or half a larger creep. This moves you through the jungle much quicker than you would be able to go without it. It also prevents you from taking any damage from that minion, keeping your health higher overall and making you less vulnerable to ganks. As Warwick I never like to stay in one spot too long, it makes me nervous. Since smite gives you jungle speed it also gives you leveling power. I often find myself leveling above the pace of the duo lane, and very near that of the solo lanes. The strength here is that not many solo enemies will leave their lane completely undefended to try and gank you. Because if they fail, your ally in their lane will gain a very strong advantage over them and might even push the tower early. This leaves the duo lanes. Usually if someone in the duo lane leaves to gank you.. you’re already higher level than he is and you can either walk away from him or turn and kill him.
Also, if the enemy team has a jungler, which quite often they will, it is VERY important that you stay ahead of him. Smite is your best friend in this type of game. You’ll kill more creeps then him at a much faster rate and eventually force him out into the lanes because he’s losing exp.
--- The Art of the Jungle ---
Jungling is all about options. You need to be aware of what is available to you. You can go any route you choose, and I suggest changing that route every single game so that your opponents don’t get used to your pattern.
I’ll give some explanations as to what you can do against certain creeps, and you can choose the route that best suits you from there.
Level 1 - Small Creeps (Wolves) – This pack is not a threat in any way. Just use hunter’s call and target the large wolf first. Your health should barely dip here if you have the runes I suggested earlier. Do not use your smite on these wolves, ever.
Small Creeps (Golems) – This group can actually do some damage at level 1. If I choose to kill these first I will instantly smite one golem, pop hunter’s call and kill it instantly, then turn and kill the second one. This will level you if you have the experience mastery.
Small Creeps (Wraiths) – The blue Wraith has life leach, and will kill you at level 1. The good news is, smite will instantly kill this creep and he yields a large amount of experience compared to how much effort you used in killing him. His little buddies don’t hit that hard so once you dispatch him I’d pop hunter’s call and mow them down.
Level 2 – At this point you can do any creep camp that your heart desires. If you choose to do Golem/Lizard, make sure your smite is up. Kill the two tiny creeps guarding them first, then take down the big guy. Also utilize your health potion.
Level 3 – If you still haven’t killed the Golem or Lizard yet, it’s safe to do so now without wasting a potion. You should also be nearing your Madred’s Razor at this point and it’s all downhill from there.
Remember, the enemy has the same creeps you do, make sure you mix it up, while you may think going into their territory is more dangerous than hanging out in your own, it’s not always the case. Most of the time if the enemy comes looking for you, it will be in your woods, not theirs…
** random jungle tip ** - I find that pulling the Golem/Lizard into the brush makes it much more difficult for the enemy to gank you. Get comfortable with how far you can pull a unit before it leashes itself. If you’re in the brush you can usually spot them coming and leave through the back before they can spot you.