The Volibear rework has just hit the League of Legends PBE servers. Just a couple days ago, Riot Games livestreamed the champion, showcasing his new kit and a bit of gameplay footage. With new details in the PBE servers, we can see how well Volibear matches up to other champions in the game. So without further ado, let’s take a look at his kit.
Passive: The Relentless Storm
Volibear’s basic attacks and abilities grant him attack speed, stacking up to five times. At max stacks, his basic attacks erupt in chain lightning to nearby enemies.
This passive used to be his ultimate, and with it Volibear clears his jungle camps relatively quickly. It’s an effective farming tool, though it does hinder him a bit in lane. The AOE damage pushes waves and makes it clunky to try and freeze with Volibear, so just playing him in the jungle is the best role for him. Late-game with Titanic Hydra and maybe Trinity Force, Volibear auto attacks will chunk a lot.
First ability: Thundering Smash
Volibear gets on all fours and gains movement speed, doubling if moving in the direction of an enemy champion. His next basic attack will smash the target, stunning them.
Probably one of Volibear’s most well-known abilities, his Q used to be a flip that displaces his target. It was a solid pick tool. The stun is an alright alternative, but regardless, it’s the only hard crowd control Volibear has in his rework kit. The ability to stun allows Volibear to chain his abilities together well, keeping his target in place to land his other abilities.
In addition to this change, Volibear will not be creep blocked when he is on all fours, which is wonderful. Also, if Volibear is immobilized by crowd control before he can stun a target, he will enrage and his Thunder Smash will have its cooldown reset. This is ridiculously strong as it means you have opportunities to chase down your target.
Overall, the movement speed is still a decent ganking tool, and the ability to possibly cast it twice is threatening to the point that it could be considered broken.
Second ability: Frenzied Maul
Volibear damages and marks an enemy target, applying on-hit effects. If Volibear uses this ability on a marked target, it deals bonus damage and heals Volibear based on his missing health. The health restored is 50% effective against minions. This ability’s damage scales of AD and health.
This is probably the most threatening ability in his kit outside of his ultimate. The fact that both casts apply on-hit effects means certain item combinations will be dangerous on him. Trinity Force, Titanic Hydra, or even Blade of the Ruined King has its passive able to proc on Frenzied Maul.
Frenzied Maul also resets auto attacks, meaning you can weave your auto attacks in-between each cast to deal some pretty good damage. This further means Press the Attack is still a viable rune on Volibear, instantly proccing with almost no counterplay. Just a simple stun with his Thunder Smash (Q), then Frenzied Maul, and finally one more auto attack, and now the enemy can’t deal with you in a 1v1 scenario.
Keep in mind though that there is no actual second cast and the ability will be on cooldown once you cast it. Making sure you stick to your opponent to use this ability again could literally mean whether you survive a fight or not. It’s important to consider this cooldown when trading as it is the strongest trading tool Volibear has in his kit.
Third ability: Sky Splitter
Volibear calls down lightning at a location dealing AP damage as well as a percentage of your opponent’s maximum health. Enemies hit by this ability are slowed for two seconds. If Volibear is in the blast zone, he gains a shield based on his maximum health for three seconds.
This ability’s damage is capped at 100 for monsters, so its damage in clearing is significantly lowered. The shield allows you to farm more safely and survive longer in a fight.
However, its animation is quite long. The ability is similar to Ekko’s in the sense that you want to cast this ability to where you think the fight is going to be. Running in with your Q and stunning a target means you guarantee that Sky Splitter hits and slows, while simultaneously giving yourself a shield.
There are particular tips for using Sky Splitter effectively:
- You can cast this ability mid-Q to hide Volibear’s casting animation and get a more surpassing QE combo.
- Your ultimate gives you more health, so casting this after your ultimate gives you a bigger shield.
- Your ultimate also slows and thus can stack to about 90% if you land both abilities.
- Since it scales off on roughly 0.8 of your AP, it makes Nashor’s Tooth/Lich Bane AP Volibear pretty fun.
Overall, I like this addition to Volibear in his rework. It synergizes well with his new Q and his ultimate really well, and it’s honestly just really damn satisfying to use.
Ultimate ability: Stormbringer
Volibear enlarges himself and leaps at a target location, dealing damage and disabling any towers in the radius. Nearby enemies are slowed for one second, and anyone underneath Volibear when he lands is dealt a massive amount of physical damage scaling with both AD and AP. Alongside this, he gains bonus health and attack range and ignores unit collision.
This is an amazingly satisfying ability. The disabling of turrets allows you to tower-dive early on in the game, and the slow stacks with your E as well. Coupled with Thundering Smash’s stun, Sky Splitter’s slow, and Stormbringer’s slow, Volibear can keep enemies held in place for a long time.
After some PBE playtime, I think the Volibear rework changes are actually very well done. He has changed from a niche pick engaging tank to just a solid almost-juggernaut-like frontline. It keeps the main focus of Volibear with his charging engage and auto-attacking potential while simultaneously giving Volibear more tools to be a proper frontline now.
Riot Games has successfully made Volibear into a stereotypical vanguard tank with this rework, and I’m okay with that. Volibear still feels pretty much like Volibear with some new additions. It’s made him extremely strong. I would even consider him extremely broken right now as his damage is too high and he’s far too hard to kill. After some tweaks to balance him, I can see Volibear as a nice addition to the League of Legends roster.
Volibear hits the League of Legends live servers on May 28. A free Volibear skin will be available for everyone that owns Volibear before his rework, so make sure you claim it before he comes out!