It is known by now that some of the older champions can start to feel outdated, but thankfully, Riot Games is more than eager to provide these champions with extensive reworks, giving them a fresh look and feel, with one of the most successful major reworks targeting none other than Volibear, The Thunder’s Roar.
With his VGU update hitting the serves in May 2020, Volibear became a strong pick in both normal and competitive play. Yet, despite his surging popularity, players could be seen running a wide range of Runes and Items, with very few standardized options. This was no accident however, as newer or reworked champions are now designed to hold a considerable amount of versatility, which we can only agree with.
In an effort to give both new and veteran players a head start when it comes to thundering across the Rift with the real bear champion, we’ve put together an extensive guide following the often ideal Runes, Items, and most importantly, the best Jungle Routes and ganking strategies to follow when playing Volibear!
As a preliminary thought, given this champion’s extended versatility, players should focus on successfully tailoring their items and Runes to the particularities of each game. Executing Volibear properly is a matter of mindset and courage, fearless charging into the enemy team in order to unleash chaos!
Flash + Smite
Although some players prefer running Ghost, Flash remains the obvious choice, as it allows you to successfully get out of tight situations after you’ve engaged with R, while Ghost would mostly serve as an engage tool, which Volibear already has enough of.
The Best Volibear Runes
Volibear’s Runes are split between defensive and offensive options, depending on which approach you want to have in a given game, mostly shaped by the enemy team’s composition. It is still rather pleasing that players can decide if they want to run Voli as a full Tank or a sturdy Bruiser, only after seeing the entire enemy lineup.
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For the more defensive build, players want to run Predator as their keystone, for the same reason as Skarner does, in order to more effectively run down enemy targets. Next are Cheap Shot, Zombie Ward and Relentless Hunter, with the secondary Runes being rather flexible, but are commonly found in the Resolve tree. These often are Bone Plating and Overgrowth.
As a Bruiser, your Runes will play more towards the offensive part, while your items are oriented towards the defensive. Your keystone is Press the Attack, followed by Triumph, Legend: Tenacity, and finally Last Stand, blending some raw damage and Bruiser-Esque mechanics into the equation.
For the secondary picks, we recommend running Celerity and Waterwalking, in order to further boost any movement speed buffs and the overall pacing across the map. While the Resolve tree also offers plenty of great picks, the utility of having added movement speed remains just as valuable over the course of the entire game, whereas some of the other options lose their impact later on.
With Season 12, we were introduced to a variety of changes, aimed at keeping the game fresh and entertaining. Although some champions have benefitted more from Patch 11.23, Volibear players have also been gifted with a powerful off-meta opportunity.
Lethal Tempo and Volibear’s Lightning Claws make for a devastating combination, as The Thunder’s Roar can keep soaking up damage whilst he’s actively chipping away at the Health bars of multiple enemies, oftentimes winning the trade.
This is still experimental, but more and more avid Voli players take this path over the more traditional options, as it empowers the champion to deal considerably more damage, without losing much in return.
The Best Volibear Items
Starting Items: Hailblade + Refillable Potion
Mythic Options: Divine Sunderer / Turbo Chemtank
Core Items: Defensive Boots, Sterak’s Gage, Titanic Hydra
Finishing Options: Dead Man’s Plate, Spirit Visage, Thornmail, Death’s Dance
As with all highly versatile champions, your build will be different each game, in order to match the enemy team’s win conditions.
Another interesting off-meta route is to combine Frostfire Gauntlet’s Mythic passive with Titanic Hydra and Fimbulwinter, creating an almighty Tank with plenty of damage to deal, thanks largely to the abominating amount of Health gained through this build.
Despite being more on the unpopular side, this build is not only strong, but perhaps the strongest, as it blends plenty of resistances into Volibear’s offensive kit, sometimes feeling slightly unbalanced for your enemies.
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The Best Skill Order for Volibear
W > Q > E > R
The Best Jungle Paths for Volibear
Before heading into the actual Jungle pathing, we need to cover some of Volibear’s essential clearing and ganking tools, which enable him to effectively farm the Jungle without losing much Health.
Firstly, we have the on-hit Passive which empowers his auto-attacks, causing them to deal more damage and bounce to multiple units. Thunder Claws allow Voli to clear the multi-mob camps with considerable ease, since we’re talking about a Passive ability, being affected by no Mana use or cooldowns. Secondly, Volibear’s E is the cherry on top when looking at his Jungling sustain, as it doesn’t only deal a flat amount of AOE damage, but its shielding also helps in mitigating the incoming attacks. As consequence, always make sure to get the most out of these two abilities, maximizing your damage output and minimizing Health loss.
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.
We want to also add that although Volibear is an excellent champion when it comes to killing the mobs, but he also excels at ganking, given the ease with which players can land his stun with. For this reason, players can choose to skip doing the Krugs altogether during their first clear, gaining some extra momentum to invest in an early gank, ultimately converting into additional gold.
Red Side, Red Clear
Starting with the Red Side’s Red Clear, this may be one of the more difficult positions to start from, since clearing the sturdy Buff using only your W and Passive-empowered basic attacks can take a little while. Nonetheless, players should not worry about losing much Health, especially when taking Red’s bonus HP regeneration into account.
As mentioned, skip over the Krugs from this starting position, and head straight towards the Raptors and Wolves, which pose little-to-no threat. The AOE damage and shield from E and the chaining lightning from his Passive make killing the Raptors and Wolves a walk in the park, which is why players should not cast their first stack of Smite until the fourth camp.
Your fourth camp is going to be the Blue Buff, which you can now cast Smite on in order to accelerate your tempo even more. With repeated Ws in combination with your other abilities, slaying Blue won’t pose an issue, and neither will your fifth camp, the Gromp. Chip away at Gromp using your standard means and save Smite for the Scuttler, as an added safety measure against contests.
Step into the River and break the Scuttler’s shield using Q, and continue hitting it with your basic attacks until it’s low enough to be executed by Smite. From that position, simply run towards either Mid or Bot to gank effectively.
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Red Side, Blue Clear
Starting with the Blue Buff is going to be slightly more advantageous, as you now have the assistance of two allies instead of one. While this may not mean much in terms of overall Health loss, it does accelerate Volibear’s tempo quite a bit.
For the second camp, rush the Gromp using your standard clearing means in combination with Smite. This will keep the Gromp from slowing down your tempo, allowing you to be the first Jungler to step into the River for the Top-side Scuttler.
Head towards the Wolves and Raptors as your third and fourth objectives, making the best use of your E and Passive to finish these multi-mob camps as quickly as possible. From there, turn your attention towards the Red Buff and fight it using your second Smite charge, in order to keep your pace going.
Lastly, head into the River to secure some extra gold, experience and vision for your team by killing the Scuttler. Q enables you to easily break its shell, and given how quick your tempo is, it is highly unlikely that the enemy Jungler will make it in time to contest.
Blue Side, Blue Clear
Mirroring the previous path perfectly, start off by killing the Blue Buff and saving your first Smite charge for the Gromp. Both camps are rather tanky but given Volibear’s W ability and Passive, slaying them should not cause much trouble.
Next on the list are the only multi-mob camps you’re going to be fighting, the Wolves and the Raptors. Like we’ve already said, Voli’s kit allows him to clear these with outstanding efficiency, so there isn’t much else to cover on those.
For the fifth camp, keeping the symmetry with the previous clear, head towards the Red Buff and use Smite to kill it as quickly as possible, before stepping into the River to finish your first clear with the Scuttle Crab.
Blue Side, Red Clear
For perhaps the fastest clear tactic, Volibear will benefit greatly from the extra assistance, accelerating his pathing tempo even more.
After the Red Buff, which you’ll be slaying with that extra help, keep it simple and head towards the multi-mob camps, the Raptors and Wolves. Mirroring the Red Side’s Red Clear, keep your Smite for the Blue and Scuttler, relying solely on your standard kit to slay the multi-mobs.
As mentioned, kill the Blue Buff using Smite and turn your focus towards the Gromp as a last stop before heading into the River. Once there, secure the Scuttler with Smite under your belt, being fully covered in case the enemy team decides to send someone to contest.
At last, convert your tempo into a fast gank on either Top or Mid, which hopefully leads to either a takedown or a spent Summoner Spell on the enemy’s side.
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The Best Tips and Tricks for Volibear
- Although Volibear’s Jungle clear is more than decent, his ganks are the real deal. The simplicity of landing a Q on an overextending enemy only to finish the kill using repeated Ws allows him to snowball the game towards victory, so do not spend more time in the Jungle than necessary.
- Beware not to cast Q too early, as it is the bread and butter to your ganks. Cast it only when you are almost certain that you’ll be able to reach the target in time.
- Sky Splitter’s (E) shield and damage are really capable of turning fights around, but one very common mistake committed by Voli players is to leave E’s range before it procs. Indeed, sometimes it is more tempting to simply chase the kill, but remember that E creates an area where you have the high ground, so try staying in it as much as possible.
- Flanking with Volibear can be quite difficult, as the only way to get over walls is your Ultimate, or perhaps Flash. Instead, focus more on tower diving, since Stormbringer can also disable turrets for a few seconds, just enough for you to land a successful Q on a poorly positioned enemy, converting it with your team.
The Thunder’s Roar has been rampaging across the Rift for a while now, and he’s here to stay! Very few champions provide such an empowering game experience as Volibear when he casts his Ultimate ability, which keeps his kit both useful and fun.
In the Jungle, Volibear wants to rapidly clear as many camps as needed, in order to unleash his true potential, those extremely effective ganks. Roaring towards the enemy Laners with Chemtank or Predator on can mean certain death for most enemies, as once your Q lands, the rest is self-explanatory.
As a true tower dive god, Volibear players needn’t be afraid of crossing over the enemy lines when ganking, even if slightly far from the laning allies. E’s shield and damage can turn otherwise losing fights into your favor, buying enough time for some allies to show up.
Lastly, always remember to make the best use of your Passive and W, as the primary trading tools many players underestimate. Simply throwing claws to the enemy champions and watching your auto-attacks unleash that chain lightning is among the most satisfying feats Volibear can do, besides jumping over walls with his R in order to disable turrets.
With that we conclude this guide on Volibear, hoping you’ve found it useful. Make sure to keep an eye out on our website where we continuously upload fresh League of Legends content, such as this guide, in order to stay up to date with the latest League-related media!