Warwick Avenue: top lane champion guide
Update: Recently Riot games decided to remake Warwick. Therefore this Warwick guide is outdated and it’s purely here for historic value.
As a starting player the popular top laners can give you a hard time, scaring you away from this lane. Even if you aren’t new to the game you can end up being bullied if you don’t play it regularly. With this guide I strive to change your fear into pure bloodlust by introducing a very safe champion that is easy to pick up: Warwick.
At only 450 IP Warwick is dirt cheap which means you can pick him as a starting champion. Being very sturdy and sustained due to his immense amounts of lifesteal Warwick was originally classified as a jungler. But ever since I saw the professional League of Legends player Soaz go mad with him in the Season 1 championships Warwick became one of my favorite top laners. Warwick is playable versus many different champions and almost never a bad choice. You can mostly focus on your own game and learn the ropes of the top lane by doing so. The most important things you will learn by playing Warwick are:
- Playing safe
- Last hitting
- Building reactively
- Being tanky as hell
The early laning phase
Warwick is weak at the start of the game. But what you lack in power early you will more than enough make up for as the game progresses. Warwicks item build will be very important later on. This is important to realize as you start your game as it means you have to pick up a safe starting item. You can start with a Doran’s Ring for the mana regen so you can more frequently use your Q to heal yourself up. It’s also possible to go for a Doran’s Shield versus ranged champions that will harass you with their basic attacks. A third option is the Crystalline Flask to give you spikes in both healing and mana sustain. This is a viable option if you aren’t as good at last hitting minions yet.
Focus on last hitting. As Warwick you can take your time and focus on the money income by last hitting the minions. Stay away from the enemy champion because you will lose an all-in fight this early. Warwick’s Q deals damage based of the amount of maximum health the target has and heals him for 80% of this. For this reason Warwick is very strong against popular champions who build loads of health such as Renekton, Mundo, Trundle and Shyvana. If the enemy tries to harass you and you are losing health you can use your Q on him or a cannon minion to regain some HP. Warwick doesn’t have a large mana pool so only use your Q when it is needed. Because of the lack of mana it’s also good to wait and not cast Q until you can level it up again if possible. Obviously it will heal you more as you level it up and the mana per healing efficiency improves.
As far as leveling up your abilities goes I advise you to level your Q to the maximum level first. W and E can be leveled equally to your needs. W helps you to win fights, but if you’re winning E is a great skill to abuse the movement speed helping you to escape and capitalize on ganks from the junglers.
Warwick item build – Building reactively
As you have scraped some gold together it’s time to realize how to counter your opponent by building the correct items. This means you are building reactively. Check what kind of damage your opponent does and build the correct item against it. If your enemy deals physical damage you should go for the Chain Vest and Sunfire Cape. If the enemy deals magic damage you build magic resist first through a Null Mantle and build towards a Wit’s End. The good part of these two items is that they increase your defenses but also increase your damage. Wits End is especially fun to build because it will add magic damage to your auto attacks. This works wonders with your E which is an attack speed steroid and your R which makes you attack for free a few times. Sunfire Deals damage to everything around you thus helping you killing your minions, pushing your lane and it rewards you for being in the middle of the fight – something that Warwick likes to do anyways. If you built one of the above items you get the other afterwards. As usual don’t get your boots too late and buy them in between your Wit’s End and Sunfire Cape.
Your two best options are Mercury’s Treads and Ninja Tabi. Mercury’s Treads is great against magic damage and crowd control. Ninja Tabi if they are attack damage based. Ninja Tabi is a really good choice if your direct top lane opponent deals physical damage and the enemy team has at least 2 champions that use basic attacks to deal damage. If your lane opponent deals physical damage but can crowd control you and their jungler is magic damage based and can crowd control you as well you should consider Mercury’s Treads. For example: Versus Renekton or Riven and Amumu as their jungler you can go Mercury’s Treads to soften the ganks.
Warwick has a lot of lifesteal which makes his health pool larger than it seems the longer a fight lasts. Every life you steal basically extra health. This means that migitation stats like armor and magic resistance will increase your health pool. Each point of health you get back will be harder to get rid of. Because of this you buy the armor and magic resistance parts first when building items. As an example: you buy the Chain Vest before the Giants Belt when building Sunfire Cape.
After your core build, Wit’s end, Sunfire Cape and boots, is completed you should build more tank items. Great options are Frozen Heart (has cooldown reduction which means you can use more skills), Randuins Omen (fat stats) and Spirit Visage (increases your healing done). If you want to deal more damage you can finish of your build with Blade of the Ruined King or Guinsoo’s Rageblade which gives you lifesteal as long as you don’t get bursted down from 50% to 0% live.
About Warwick’s skills
Warwick is a sustained damage tank who heals and deals damage on auto attacks. As Warwick your passive adds flat amounts of extra damage to your basic attacks. This works well with extra attack speed like Wit’s End and your W. Your W is an attack speed steroid meaning that it will make you attack faster.
Q gives a lot of healing as described earlier and should help you during your laning phase. Q is also extra burst damage to pair with your R. Your movement speed gets increased by E as enemies are damaged. When the effect gets activated the enemy won’t see you but know you are around so sometimes it’s smart to disable it if you want to sneak up on someone.
Mindset when playing Warwick
As said your early game is weak but as you progress you get stronger. This is because our Warwick item build allows you to increase your damage and defenses at the same time. Because of his lifesteal Warwick is really hard to kill if you built the correct defensive items. This means that you can play very defensive and let the enemy push your lane towards your tower. You aren’t a good pusher as Warwick anyways. Just last hit the minions and let them come. The other top laner may get overconfident and try to dive you under the tower. However, with your Q you will be deceptively healthy and your E will make you run faster. Have the enemy tank as many tower hits while you run circles around the tower using your Q whenever it is possible. If the enemy jungler comes to dive you as well you can use your ultimate to stun someone under the tower and heal of him as well. You can also use your ultimate to make your jungle catch the enemy top laner.
In teamfights you should use your ultimate to lock down their strongest damage dealer, most likely their mid laner or AD carry. This means you dive deep into their team making your lifesteal and tanky items work for you. After the fight you are the perfect cleanup crew picking of enemies who try to run away with low health because of the crazy amounts of movement speed.
Act like an underdog, win like an underdog.