Back in Season 11, Riot introduced a massive amount of new content to League of Legends, mostly referring to the major-scale items changes, with the introduction of the Mythic tier. That year’s preseason was essentially a playground for players to experiment on, trying to figure out which items would allow which champions to essentially break the game, with Goredrinker being one of the most notorious picks.
That Mythic item reignited the interest in skirmish-oriented champions, those characters which could enter a 1v2 and come out victorious. Despite the repeated nerfs to Goredrinker, a handful of champions can still dominate games with the help of this Mythic, among which we find Olaf, The Berserker. His popularity skyrocketed, as this once forgotten champion became a preferred pick on that year’s competitive scene, with professional player Jankos scoring a now viral 1v2 in the LEC.
Today, Olaf and Goredrinker remain just as powerful as they were back in Season 11, given how well The Berserker synergizes with the Mythic item and the current meta. An unstoppable force, ready to throw axes at anyone he wishes to kill, Olaf is ready to charge into Summoner’s Rift to dominate the Jungle, for which players will need a proper clearing and routing tactic.
This guide aims to provide players with all the information required to overtake games from the Jungle, allowing you to add a consistent new pick to your champion roster, with some free ELO on top!
Let us begin!
Flash / Ghost + Smite
Once Season 11 began, players began substituting Flash in favor of other Summoner Spell in unprecedented volumes, with even professional players sometimes giving up on the popular choice in competitive matches. This trend was short-lived, as now we rarely see champions being played with other Summoner Spells on a regular basis, but in Olaf’s case, we might just have an exception.
Ghost is simply too good when considering Olaf’s Ultimate ability, Ragnarok, allowing him to run down enemies without getting affected by crowd control. Still, players can optimize their choice based on which Summoner Spell they feel most comfortable with.
The Best Olaf Runes
When it comes to The Berserker’s Runes, things haven’t changed that much over the years, with the only real alternative to Conqueror only appearing this Preseason.
As with most skirmish-oriented fighters, Olaf works best with the Conqueror Keystone, followed by Triumph, to increase sustainability, along-side Legend: Bloodline, which enhances Olaf’s on-hit healing and finally Last Stand, for added combat power.
For the secondary Runes, head over to the Inspiration Tree and select Magical Footwear and Approach Velocity, in order to further boost your movement speed and to save some early gold, accelerating your Goredrinker’s completion time.
The Preseason brought a couple of interesting changes to some of the older Runes, with namely Lethal Tempo receiving a considerable buff. Many champions, especially from the Fighter category could abuse those changes quite effectively, but we were also hinted about a new potential update to Lethal Tempo, which may make it less effective on melee champions such as Olaf.
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The Best Olaf Items
Starting Items: Emberknife + Refillable Potion
Mythic Item: Goredrinker / Divine Sunderer / Trinity Force
Core Items: Defensive Boots, Sterak’s Gage, Dead Man’s Plate, Death’s Dance
Finishing Options: Force of Nature, Spirit Visage, Black Cleaver, Thornmail
Olaf’s core items focus on mixing defensive Passives with semi-offensive stats, as is the case with most skirmishers, with the last few item slots being reserved for some flexible defenses, or, another semi-offensive item.
Black Cleaver is overall a great item for The Berserker, but it slightly delays the defensive stats, meaning that players should only build it when a considerable gold leads has been built relatively early.
Subsequently, Divine Sunderer and Trinity Force also work particularly well with Olaf’s kit, as he can very comfortably activate Sheen’s Spellblade effect, and its more expensive forms. Problem is, Goredrinker seems to simply be the best Mythic item for Olaf, but there are quite a few players who prefer running Trinity Force or Divine Sunderer, as a playstyle preference.
The Best Skill Order for Olaf Jungle
Q > W > E > R
Players can choose to start with W first, but Q makes for a better Jungle clearing tool if used effectively, meaning that players have to constantly throw and pick up axes in order to keep resetting the ability.
The Best Jungle Paths for Olaf
We want to make a last side-note regarding Olaf’s clear before heading into the ideal Jungle routes and pathing. The Berserker is an excellent Jungler with great clear-speed and sustain, but this also requires players to use Undertow (Q) properly, as opposed to simply aiming it in the general direction. This applies mostly for the multi-mob camps, where players should always try to match the axe’s hitbox so that it damages all of the mobs, before recovering it to reduce the ability’s cooldown.
We are going to cover the most advantageous starts from each side, but players should keep a few factors in mind when deciding upon where their Jungle pathing should start. These are:
- Which laners are going to provide more help in clearing the first camp?
- Counter-jungle opportunities, based on where the enemy Jungler is likely to start.
- Which lane would you like to gank first, depending on both the allied and enemy champions.
For ganking, Olaf relies heavily on landing as many Qs as possible, as Undertow’s slow is the only control tool in his arsenal.
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Red Side, Red Clear
Starting our clearing route from Red Side’s Red Buff, players may find it costly to clear the first camp, especially in terms of Health, but granted the mechanics behind the Jungle items and Olaf’s passively increasing attack speed, you will be more than just fine. Remember that Olaf loves fighting on low Health, which also applies to fighting the Jungle monsters.
After securing the Red Buff, head for the Raptors and Wolves next, clearing both multi-mob camps with well-aimed Qs. Once your W has been unlocked, the mobs will no longer pose a threat, as it allows you to regenerate Health and clear camps with great efficiency.
Having cleared three camps already, you can now start using Smite to accelerate your pathing, with the first charge going down on your fourth camp, the Blue Buff. Remember to cast is only when Blue is already low on Health, as Smite’s heal will practically reduce your attack speed, due to the core mechanics of your Passive.
Fight the Gromp as your fifth camp, regenerating even more HP, so you can now step into the River confidently, ready to snatch the Scuttler with your second charge of Smite. If uncontested, cast Smite to break the Scuttler’s shield, as Olaf lacks any form of hard CC, securing it with repeated casts of Q and E, in between auto-attacks.
Finally, look for a gank opportunity on either Mid or Bot, using your rather advanced tempo to catch enemies off-guard with your Undertow.
Red Side, Blue Clear
This is perhaps the best starting position for Olaf, as it enables the Berserker to go for a full clear, while also having the added benefit of getting help from two allies at the first Buff. In this case, players should start with Blue and head for Gromp second, using Smite to accelerate the clear, before turning their focus to the multi-mob camps on their way to the Red Buff.
Since Gromp is likely to leave you with full Health, clearing the Wolves and Raptors shouldn’t be an issue, as we urge players not to use the Refillable Potion, in order to maintain some of the extra attack speed granted by The Berserker’s Passive.
After having cleared the Wolves and Raptors, slay Red with the use of the second Smite charge, before making your way to the final camp belonging to your Jungle. The Krugs are not as meticulous to clear as with some of the other meta Junglers, as Undertow’s resets can do most of the work for you.
Finally, step into the River to secure the Scuttler, ganking either Top or Mid immediately after, or skip the Scuttler altogether if you happen to have a perfect gank opportunity on Top after you’re done clearing the Krugs.
Blue Side, Red Clear
From the Blue Side, your clears will once again start at the Red Buff, with the added advantage of having two allies assisting you with it, as opposed to doing the same on the Red Side. The route is identical to the Red Side’s, as you will once again be keeping Smite for Blue and the Scuttler, getting the most out of your Passive’s attack speed bonus.
Secure Red and make your way to the Blue Buff, clearing the Raptors and Wolves on the way. Again, do not use the Refillable Potion as your W provides plenty of sustain, especially when combined with your Passive.
At Blue, use your first Smite charge once the Buff’s HP is low enough for Smite to execute it, before making one last stop at Gromp. Having now cleared your fifth camp, you should be healthy enough to enter the River with confidence, breaking the Scuttler’s shield with Smite before landing a couple of more basic attack and Qs to finish the clear.
From there, you are once again entitled to do a gank on Top or Mid, preferably picking the lane where it is the most likely for you to land a takedown on.
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Blue Side, Blue Clear
Once again mimicking the opposite Side’s route, start by slaying the Blue Buff and Gromp, where you should also cast your first Smite, before heading towards the Wolves to finish your Top side Jungle.
Next on the list we find the Raptors, which can be cleared quite easily with the use of well-aimed Undertows. For your fifth camp, we follow the organic path and head for the Red Buff, where the second Smite charge comes into play.
Having now cleared most of your Jungle, finish the full clear by slaying the Krugs, again making the best use of your Q to facilitate this process. Players can now decide to either stop for a gank on Bot, if the lane’s position allows it, or to secure some additional gold and experience, along-side the River vision, by attempting to secure the Scuttler.
With the first clear being fully completed, you can now start looking for ganking opportunities on Mid or Bot, where we urge players to invest in the safer, more advantageous-looking lane.
The Best Tips and Tricks for Olaf Jungle
- Executing Olaf properly is somewhat conditioned by successfully landing his Qs continuously, as only then can he keep his targets in constant slow, effectively activating Approach Velocity’s movement speed bonus. Besides the slow, Undertow also deals a rather impressive amount of damage, which makes an important difference in those tight 1v2 scenarios.
- Besides your aim and prediction skills, planning is also very important when looking to use Undertow at its maximum potential. Players need to continuously pick up their axes in order to shorten Qs cooldown, yet it is so common for Olaf players to throw them straight at their target. Try casting Q in a direction in which the enemy is likely to run, allowing you to pick up your axe whilst still chasing them down. Otherwise, by throwing the axe randomly, it’s more than likely that you’ll be required to give up on the cooldown reduction only so you can keep your target from running away whilst you after the axe.
- Olaf’s W, Vicious Strikes, is an essential trading tool, which needs to be used wisely. Do not activate it as soon as you get into combat! Instead, wait a bit until you are a bit low on Health in order to combine its ludicrous attack speed and healing buffs with the already powerful attack speed boost from your Passive.
- Finally, remember that your Ultimate has a 6 second duration, which would normally seem like plenty of time to secure a kill, but that is not Olaf’s role in the game. You want to spend as much time as possible as the primary target, allowing your team to deal damage from behind you. Before activating Ragnarok, try dodging the first CC ability thrown at you, at also activate Ghost when closing in, so your Ultimate is active only when you need it the most, keeping you from wasting those precious seconds miles away from the enemies.
The Berserker is one of the greatest champions in the game when it comes to fearlessly charging into combat and throwing punches without dying, and in order to enjoy Olaf’s full potential, players need to adopt the Viking berserker mentality behind his concept.
Given his Ultimate ability, Olaf can also be a strong tower diver, as Q can keep targets slowed while he closes in, being immune to any spells which might prevent him from escaping. In a team fight, The Berserker is tasked with pulling the trigger and initiating the fight whenever the enemy team extends too far, or simply walks into a narrow corridor where Undertow can hit multiple targets.
The fearless axe-wielder we know and love has been resurrected from the pit of forgotten champions through the introduction of the new item system back in Season 11, and he’s once again here to stay! Charge into combat and lead your team to victory, using our guide to improve your Olaf mechanics as you go along!
That being said, we hope you enjoyed our Jungle route and clearing guide for Olaf, The Berserker, as we urge you to come back for more League of Legends content, including more guides like this, farewell!