Volibear received a surprise buff on the League of Legends PBE when the new test cycle arrived this week, and honestly, it might be enough to make him strong. Unfortunately, though, it’s still not quite what he needs.
The buff in question simply replaces the current damage on the second part of his Majestic Roar. Now, rather than taking bonus base damage if you’re mid-air when he uses the roar, you take damage equal to eight percent of your maximum health. It comes out to a hefty chunk of higher damage, and it boosts his clear speed a ton, since there isn’t a damage cap for monsters.
So yes, if he can get ahold of you, he can deal significantly more damage and impact the fight in a much larger way. The thing is, though, that’s Volibear’s issue. He has to catch you first. His entire kit essentially boils down to the fact that if he deals enough damage to you when he catches you, he’s useful. If he can’t deal the damage, he doesn’t have enough tools in his kit to maintain usefulness. Other jungle champions, like Skarner and Trundle, are also easily kited, but they have tools that players can utilize to stay useful even when behind.
In other words, Volibear is a stat check champion. He’s simple, and his power in the meta relies on how much damage he can vomit out rather than what skill a player can bring to make the most of his kit in a bad situation.
When he has more damage, like this buff, he works, but he’s still flawed. It will take deeper work to turn Volibear into a healthy champion. Until then, he’s just going to continue to fall in and out of usefulness based on how much damage he deals when he reaches his target—and that’s not fun for anyone.
Unfortunately, there isn’t anything major on the radar for Volibear, so this Band-Aid of sorts is really all we have to work with. That’s fine, as there are other champions in dire need of updates before him, but it still doesn’t feel good to play him even post-buff, at least on the PBE right now.
If the change makes it through the test cycle, it will arrive with Patch 9.2 in about two weeks.