Volibear: Why Reworked Voli Will be a Menace in Pro Play

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

With the reworked theme and kit of Volibear having been announced, we look at why he will be a menace in pro play after his release.

Last night, Volibear’s long-anticipated rework was officially unveiled to the world in a livestream. Not only did we get to see his updated look, skins, and lore, but we finally got to see some gameplay clips. After the stream ended, Riot also released descriptions of all of the abilities Volibear will have when his rework goes live in a few weeks.

Looking at Volibear’s reworked kit, I think he might actually be incredibly strong in professional play as a jungler primarily. In fact, his kit is sort of a gross hybrid between Ornn and Leona that fits jungle and top lane. Let’s go through his abilities to see why Volibear will be high priority in pro play.

"Passive – The Relentless StormVolibear’s attacks and abilities grant attack speed, and eventually cause his basic attacks to deal bonus magic damage to nearby enemies."

This is the primary reason that I think Volibear will be better in the jungle as opposed to top lane. He will naturally push the wave via his passive, which is basically a mini-version of his current ult once the passive is fully stacked.

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Relentless Storm will be great for clearing AoE camps like Krugs or Raptors, but it will be bad in top lane if he wants to freeze the wave. Now, it looks like it will take a lot of auto-attacks (5) to stack the passive fully, so depending on how long the stacks remain it might not hurt top too much. But if he is always pushing the wave, that slightly hurts his power in top.

"Q – Thundering SmashVolibear gains speed towards enemies, stunning and damaging the first one he attacks."

RIP to the flip. One of Volibear’s most iconic moves is being lost in the rework. As a long-time Voli main, this makes me sad.

However, losing the flip for a stun instead is not the end of the world. The ability is still point-and-click and gives him hard CC, so Volibear can still use this as a secondary form of lockdown in combination with his E.

"W – Frenzied MaulVolibear damages an enemy, applying on-hit effects and marking them. Casting this spell again on the same target deals bonus damage and heals Volibear."

The biggest loss to Volibear’s kit, in my opinion, is his execute on this ability. Instead, he will get the chance to cast it twice in a fight for bonus damage and healing. This is nice, but I’d personally prefer to keep the execute unless the mark could be procced by other allies as well.

However, procing on-hit effects will be good if Volibear builds items like Phage (to grant him the bonus movement speed), Karchei’s Shard (the energized attack), or Blade of the Ruined King’s bonus damage. Items like Trinity Force, Wits End, Frozen Mallet, Blade of the Ruined King or Tiamat items might become stronger on Volibear as a result.’

"E – Sky SplitterVolibear summons a lightning bolt at a location, dealing damage and slowing enemies while granting Volibear a shield if he’s inside the blast radius."

This is the first game-changer for Voli’s rework, as it gives him a ranged form of engage. While it’s not hard CC, the slow can be very effective as a form of ranged engage similar to Leona ult.

I could see Volibear being able to initiate teamfights with his Sky Splitter, using this to slow enemies from range before following up with all his other CC. No, it’s not a hard CC like Ornn’s ranged knockup or Leona’s ranged ult, but given all the follow-up he has in his kit this ability could be massive.

"R – StormbringerVolibear leaps to a target location, slowing and damaging enemies beneath him while gaining bonus health. Enemy towers near his landing location become temporarily disabled."

Now this is the big X-factor and why I think Volibear will become that menace in pro play. This is another initiation tool, though much shorter-ranged than his Sky Splitter. However, the disabling enemy towers is a game-changer.

This makes Volibear incredibly potent at tower diving and sets up a lot of very interesting pairings that teams can run. Champions that need to snowball early and pressure enemies under tower like Renekton or Irelia suddenly become much more potent. In addition, the bonus health he gains will help make this ability also be useful in teamfights.

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With this ability, Volibear is likely able to start teamfights from range with his Sky Splitter, follow up on slowed enemies with his Stormbringer, and then CC them with his Thundering Smash. With the bonus health, he’ll be able to soak a ton of damage in the middle of the fight while waiting on another round of his cooldowns.

With his ultimate, Volibear essentially gets a free Gargoyle’s Stoneplate and Zz’Rot portal for free. This sets up his itemization to be a lot more flexible than most tanks and it also gives his team a lot of unique opportunities to take fights they would normally be disadvantaged in.