As with many of the older Champions in the League, Warwick is missing a cohesive identity. He has a binary play style that is largely point and click, and pretty unrewarding from a player perspective. He’s extremely difficult to make competitively viable in his current form thanks to his near indefinite sustain in the jungle, and devastating ganking ability at level 6. Warwick’s viability in the jungle directly correlates with the difficulty of the jungle. Each year, Riot reworks the jungle in an attempt to improve the relevance of Jungle players throughout the game and broaden the pool of possible Champions. In Season 3 and 4, these changes meant improving gold generation and making jungle camps much less punishing than in previous incarnations. With the jungle less punishing, Champions with low sustain, strong skirmishing capability, and early game ganking power like Lee Sin, Elise, Evelynn and Kha’Zix rose to prominence. When the Jungle is more punishing, like in the current Pre-Season and Season 2 and before, Warwick’s innate sustain makes him extremely powerful. This is why Warwick cannot be balanced in his current state. Due to his high sustain, his viability isn’t tied to how strong he is, but how weak other champions are. He doesn’t rise to power in a given meta, other Champions fall until he and a select few of other high sustain junglers (xin zhao) are the only viable options left. He’s a fall back champion when all sexier options fail. This is a sad fate for what could be one of the most interesting Champions in the game.
Forming a Cohesive Identity
One of the biggest road blocks in reworking Warwick is maintaining his identity as a Hunter without overlapping with the design of Rengar, who is in many ways the Champion Warwick was meant to be. Werewolves are supernatural, feral creatures and I think this should mark the separation between the two. Whereas Rengar is a stealthy hunter, I wanted Warwick to be the opposite. The goal is to have the enemy Champion really feel like they are being hunted by a beast crashing through the woods behind them.
Keeping this in mind, the first thing I decided to get rid of was Warwick’s resource bar. All of his abilities are violent and physical in nature. It seemed silly to me for a feral beast to be limited by mana. This further pushes Warwick away from the tanky initiator role, and into the bruiser/brawler role by removing Frozen Heart from his build path. Afterwards, I tossed around the idea of Warwick’s abilities costing health similar to Dr. Mundo and Mordekaiser before settling on using a Fury bar similar to Shyvana’s. This seemed to fit nicely within the ferocious, bloodthirsty identity I wanted to establish for Warwick. Rage and Self-loathing are a common trope in Supernatural horror/fiction.
Two of the major goals of this rework are to make Warwick less binary, giving him more opportunities to make a play, while simultaneously giving the enemy more options for counter play. This meant turning his ultimate into a skill shot, giving the enemy front line a chance to block warwick’s initiation. Doing so allowed me to move some of that power into additional utility, giving warwick multiple leaps at higher levels of the ultimate, and bonus effects on his abilities when his Fury bar is full.
Lastly, I needed to remove a lot of Warwick’s innate sustain in order to free up some power for his new passive, and provide more counter play. Now Warwick is a little less safe in the jungler, which should force Warwick players to have to make meaningful decisions between safety and extra gold/feral stacks. Warwick should still be able to clear among the best of them, he’s just a little less safe doing so.
New Passive: BloodWrath
Warwick gains 1 Fury per Second, and 5 Fury every time he Maul’s a target (This Bonus is doubled against Champions). When Warwick’s Fury bar is full, he enters a Blood Wrath. When in a BloodWrath, Warwick gains the ability to cast Inifinite Duress, and his abilities have additional bonuses and effects. Fury does not decay.
Warwick’s old passive encouraged his binary auto-attack oriented play style, and thus had to go. This new passive, BloodWrath, gives Warwick’s abilities additional effects when his fury bar is full. As using any ability with full fury consumes some or all of his fury bar, Warwick players would have to make meaningful decisions between having additional damage, C.C. or chasing power.
Q: Maul (16/14/12/10/8 Seconds)
Warwick Mauls the target, dealing the higher of 75/125/175/225/275 (+100% bonus AD/100% AP) or 10%/12%/14%/16%/18% of current health and causing them to bleed on the ground for 10 seconds. Warwick gains half of the damage dealt back as health.
BloodWrath: Consumes 20 Fury. Warwick’s Maul’s the target more fiercely than normal, reducing their movement speed, Attack Damage and Ability Power by 10/12.5/15/17.5/20 percent for 1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2.0 seconds.
Warwick’s old Q, Hungering Strike, has been replaced by Maul, though its identity has been largely preserved. I dialed back the damage a bit by changing it to percent of current health from maximum health, and reduced the amount of health Warwick gets back. This allowed me to move some of that power into the new BloodWrath effect. The goal here was for the enemy champion to really feel like they were mauled. A mauled person would become disabled, and I wanted to mirror that in a reduction to their movement speed and damage for a short period of time. This changes how Warwick duels other Champions. Instead of having constant oppressive healing, he has windows of advantages and disadvantages that he and his opponent can take advantage of.
W: Hunter’s Call (24/22/20/18/16 Seconds)
Warwick gains 40%/50%/60%/70%/80% attack speed for 10 seconds. . Enemy Champions in a larger range (1500 or so) hear the call and are alerted to Warwick’s presence in the area, while allied Champions in the same range gain increased movement speed when moving in Warwick’s direction.
BloodWrath: Consumes 20 Fury. In addition to the attack speed boost, Nearby enemy champions are feared for 1./1.25/1.5/1.75/2 seconds.
In the name of Clarity, it never made sense to me that Warwick would Howl, and only his own team would hear it. Thus, using this ability alerts nearby enemy champions to Warwick’s presence but does not provide actual vision. The old Hunter’s call provided a lot of unintentional pushing power in the late game, giving allied Champions as much as 40% additional attack speed. When combined with the new baron buff, this is a bit too oppressive. Instead, Hunter’s Call now gives allied Champions increased movement speed when moving in Warwick’s direction, making it a true call to the hunt.
The Bloodwrath effect gives Warwick a larger variety of options at any given time, opening of the opportunity for some interesting flanks while providing additional ganking power in the early level. As mentioned above, these decisions will require the player to choose between the additional damage of his Q, the C.C. of Call of the Hunt, and the extra chasing power of Blood Scent.
E: Blood Scent
Mauled enemies and Enemies below 20/25/30/35/40 percent health leave a trail of blood in their wake that lasts for 10 seconds. When on the hunt, Warwick gains vision of the target, 10/15/20/25/30 percent movement speed and his fury generation per second doubles.
Targets that are being hunted can hear themselves being chased, with the noise getting louder the closer Warwick gets.
BloodWrath: Warwick becomes immune to all slowing effects, and movement speed bonus when on the hunt is doubled.
Blood Scent is a really cool ability that was a bit boring in execution. Revealing all Champions below a certain level of health within a certain range is nice, but it also has no counter play apart from not falling below that amount of health and the range of the ability was patently absurd in the late game. The reworked version preserves the identity of the spell, but makes it more interesting by requiring Warwick to pick up the enemy scent before he gains the increased movement speed and vision. The Bloodwrath effect, and SFX really drive home the idea of an unstoppable, bloodthirsty hunter.
R: Infinite Duress (Consumes all Fury)
Warwick lunges in a straight line, if he collides with a Champion that Champion is supressed for 1.5 seconds. During this time, Warwick ravages the target three times with his claws, dealing 100/150/200 plus 60/80/100 percent of Bonus AD with each strike (triggers on hit effects 3 times). The 3rd attack Maul’s the target, dealing an additional 10/15/20 percent of current health as physical damage.
Warwick gains an additional lunge with each point in Infinite Duress (Maximum of one lunge at level 6, two lunges at level 11 and three lungers at level 16). The first lunge to collide with an enemy Champion ends the ultimate. If a lunge misses, Warwick has five seconds to recast Infinite Duress. Other abilities may be cast during this period.
Like most of Warwick’s current kit, Infinite Duress in its original form as a point and click suppression was extremely binary and provided little counter play while serving as near guaranteed initiation. Making it a skill shot gives the enemy front line a chance to block the spell, but also allows for some interesting mechanical changes. Warwick now gains additional lunges at level 11 and 16. So if the first one misses, he can lunge again. These extra lunges can be used to position around the target to ensure the ultimate hits, though keep in mind that once a lunge hits a champion, any remaining lunges are lost.
I changed how the damage is calculated in order to lessen the necessity of Warwick players building BOTRK/Wit’s End/Devourer. Damage now scales off of total AD, with the number of on hit applications cut nearly in half.
The above rework better positions Warwick as a Hunter while opening up a larger variety of build possibilities. His current set of abilities forces players into one of two build paths. Tank initiator with SV/FH or attack speed oriented/on hit with BOTRK/Devourer. Neither of these options is particularly interesting. The reworked set of abilities keeps the window open for these style of builds, while better positioning Warwick as a chaotic brawler that leaps around and through fights. And by keeping the ability ratios on his Q, Warwick could theoretically build every single Jungle item combination to at least moderate success, rather than being forced into Ravager/Devourer every game.
The changes to Blood Scent and his ultimate make his hunting more interesting to all parties involved, increases overall champion diversity and gives Warwick player more opportunities to put their imprint on the game. All of which is healthier for the game.