In an age of mechanically demanding champions, Warwick is looked at as being pathetically weak, and while his pick/win rate is pretty average. A quick investigation shows that he is highly picked at low ranks, and has consistent falloff in pick rate as you go up the ladder, despite having a relatively consistent (and above average) win rate regardless of league.
Warwick is a champion that at first seems binary, making him extremely hit or miss, but when closely examined actually displays an incredible amount of versatility, making him a rather reliable pick. To understand why, we must examine the 5 ways a champion can scale:
1. With gold: you maximize items well, which usually means having good ratios.
2. With Experience: the more useful leveling up your skills actually is, the better you scale with level. If you’re just getting higher base damages off of an ability, it’s probably not scaling super well with levels, but if you get higher base damage AND something else (longer CC, shorter CD, etc.) it probably is.
3. With the map: Globality (a global or near-global ability, like a TF ult), even if it’s just sending an ability, like Jinx ult, gets increasingly useful as towers go down and people have more room to roam in exposed spaces. Globility (extremely sustained/spammable mobility), seen in Warwick, Singed, and CDR Riven, also take advantage of wide open spaces, which means they get better the more turrets go down, regardless of which team they go down for.
4. With others: %hp abilities, CC, etc. Anything that does more as the target gets more stats. Tryn does 10k dps with autos? Not when he’s blind he doesn’t, which means the CC from blind scales with him. This is where supports typically excel, because a 1.5 second AOE stun will prevent those stunned from dealing their scaled up damages, and allow the stunner’s teammates to use their scaled up damages more.
5. With time: people with infinite stacking- Thresh, Sion, Nasus, etc.
Let’s look at the first scaler- gold. While Warwick’s kit is often looked at as confusing and backwards, Darien’s Magic Damage Warwick shows forth a great way to maximize WW’s kit with items. Because he uses a magic penetration build based heavily on Wit’s End, he is able to get tanky off of the damage he does because of all the built-in heals. That means that he gets more multipliers than your average fighter, since his heals are plentiful and effective enough to let him rely on them as a primary source of durability, and building damage where you would normally itemize health, and maximizing the heals with resistances, since WW doesn’t directly benefit from health in any way. That also means that he can deal more damage than your average fighter, and be just as durable. What’s more, dealing all this extra damage almost guarantees that targets will fall low enough to activate blood scent, which makes his problem with being kited significantly less pronounced. I think its important to note that while Darien builds GA here, Thornmail, Frozen Heart, and BoRK (along with Visage) are all potentially good items to build after finishing Sunfire and Witsend.
Warwick’s passive scales magnificently with levels, especially considering the fact that he gets an attack speed buff, and the way that it interacts with his ult, making his kit perfect for maximizing it. Don’t forget either that it’s scaling two ways- with damage and with durability.
Considering the fact that I used Warwick as an example for scaling with the map, its no surprise that he is best-of-class in this area because of his blood scent. Unlike other forms Globility, it can’t run out, so, fully maxed, you can even chase down that pesky CDR Riven.
Scaling with others is where Warwick really shines. His Q does %HP, which allows it to scale off of his opponents getting tanky, but unlike someone like Elise, it has a nice flat damage amount for killing squishies as well. His W scales with his entire team, and his ult scales with both his team (the more DPS they do, the more damage can be put on the target while they are suppressed), and with the opponent (the more DPS they do, the more he is preventing by suppressing them).
When you put all of this together, Warwick is not just (arguably) the best scaling champion in the game, he has the most reliable scaling, because so much of it is independent of gold scaling. That means that if you get fed on WW you can carry hard, but if you get shut down in lane you can still be highly relevant to the success of your team. But wait, there’s more!
Someone like Nasus scales really well with numbers, but in practice he gets kited pretty hard in teamfights once lategame Marksman items are reached, which largely relegates him to splitpushing. Someone like Poppy scales well with teamfights because of her ult, but is exponentially weaker in the dueling scenarios created by splitpushing. Warwick however, scales very acceptably into both of these roles, giving him a lot of flexibility. His single-target damage and guaranteed ult channel mean that he’s going to do significant burst, and has plenty of sustained damage to back it up, with more than enough durability to survive whatever’s thrown at him. In a teamfight, his buff gets picked up by 4 more people, the suppress maximized more, and he’s still dealing/absorbing huge amounts of damage. Because of these options, and his ability to peel or initiate, the options provided to WW make him scale better than anyone in the game, and as addressed earlier, more reliably than anyone in the game.
Warwick scales many many ways, so many in fact that he can’t be fully denied, except by dedicated split pushers who can bully him early, get ahead, 2v1 the jungler, and keep him from ever joining teamfights. He can adapt to a wide range of situations, and finds a useful spot in every kind of team comp. While he’s not mechanically demanding, cerebral tacticians find many ways to take advantage of his kit to outplay any opponent. All of these characteristics synergize with each other to create one of the most viable yet under appreciated champions in the current meta.
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