What up! My name is Dralas, I’m a top lane Olaf main in Diamond 3 elo currently. I’m going to be going over some of the stuff I tend to do on Olaf in this post. Let me make a note here though: Just because I play Olaf or build him a certain way DOES NOT MEAN this is the only way to play Olaf. Olaf currently can be built with an array of items, so as a result there is no one ‘true’ build on him like an ADC’s build.
RUNES AND MASTERIES
Alright so let’s start from the beginning with runes & masteries.
For masteries I tend to go 9/21/0 with one of these setups:
- VS. AD Matchups
- VS. AP Matchups
The only difference being that instead of going for reinforced armor I go for evasive. I’d recommend the butcher mastery over double-edged sword if you’re not confident in your ability to consistently CS.
For runes I currently use:
- This setup
The setup is AD marks, armor per lvl seals, flat CDR quints and flat CDR glyphs.
Now the reason I use this combination of runes and masteries will make a lot more sense after I explain why. I’ve gone over the 21/9/0 talents before on Olaf and overall I think it’s decent, but the issue is that Olaf is immobile with no hard cc. On top of this, if you need to take MR vs AP matchups like Kennen, Swain, Rumble, etc., you won’t have that magic number of 20% CDR.
What 20% CDR does for Olaf is that it makes his Undertow (Q) have almost no cooldown (around 0.5s if you are just running straight at it).
To give you an example of how strong that much CDR is on Olaf early on, I created a quick video since seeing is believing.
What’s going on here is that Olaf’s base CD on his Undertow is 7 seconds. With 20% CDR it reduces the cooldown to 5.6 seconds, and then couple this with when Olaf picks up his axe to reduce the cooldown by another 4.5 seconds. What this does is bring the cooldown down to 1.1 seconds. The cooldown of Olaf’s Undertow begins when it leaves your hand, not when it hits the ground, and since it has a minimum throw distance, by the time you get to the axe there is no CD left typically. In the video you see these half-second delays, but in a game you’ll be weaving auto-attacks and casting Reckless Swings (E) or re positioning, so as a result the CD might as well be nonexistent.
Now, the reason I prefer the 9/21/0 talents is so I can keep that 20% CDR. You CANNOT walk into lanes like Rumble or Kennen with no MR and expect to come out on top. So as a result of this and since the defensive tree was recently updated, I feel that the defensive tree tends to benefit Olaf the most for multiple reasons.
- You can benefit from both the tenacious talent and juggernaut talent (you don’t tend to build Mercs on Olaf so that bit of tenacity tends to be nice for when you’re not under the effects of Ragnarok).
- Adaptive Armor tends to give 7-9 MR once you get your items. Not exactly glamorous but there really aren’t other talents worth grabbing.
- Reinforced Armor. This talent will always be useful as long as AD Carries exist.
- Enchanted Armor. Since we’re using armor per lvl coupled with Ninja Tabi + at least 1 other armor item, this can help boost it up a bit more.
- Oppression. This talent is amazing on Olaf because of the fact you can perma-apply your slow, so you can constantly be taking less damage if you’re landing axes.
- Legendary Guardian. This is the reason you can get away the rune page I’m using. The flat armor and MR this grants gives just enough boost in lane (and really good for grouping) to get away with what I’m about to tell you.
So I’ve explained the masteries, the flat CDR, AD shouldn’t need an explanation, but now why the armor per lvl seals over flat armor or health per lvl. If you’re vs an AP matchup then having flat armor won’t matter at all and it’ll be useful against an ADC later on since you want health and MR. If you’re vs an AD matchup, let’s look at the math:
- Most top laners start with +9 Armor and that’s it from seals. With this start, you’ll get +5 Armor from masteries, +2 from the level 1 stats of the seals, and another +3 from the legendary guardian when you get in range of an enemy champion. This gives you a total of +10 Armor, so you have slightly more bonus armor than your typical top laner.
What this allows you is that if you couple this with Ninja Tabi and your defensive talents, and you’ll end up being deceptively tanky against AD opponents early on. Also once again, if you’re against AP matchups, you can build health which is good against all types of damage, and you’ll already have the armor to back it up.
Sorry about the giant wall of text. I don’t like to half-ass things. I really should make a guide at some point. MOVING ON!
For summoner spells I usually go Ghost + Teleport. I take Flash vs Jarvan and that’s about it. The reason I take Ghost over Flash nowadays is that with the introduction of Dead Man’s Plate, you really don’t need to be getting Righteous Glory anymore unless you’re jungle Olaf. Top lane Olaf should avoid that item unless you’re the only frontline and your team needs the initiation.
The only time I take ignite is vs Tryndamere because I have yet to find a way to beat him without it.
Now that we’ve gone over the reasoning behind the runes + masteries setup, let’s go in-game now.
For opening starts I tend to go Doran’s Blade. I’ll go Flask vs matchups that are really hard to kill early on (examples of this being Shen, Mao’kai, essentially champions that don’t want to fight early + can disengage easily and there’s not much you can do about it). Flask tends to be more valuable in those scenarios because you need the extra mana sustain so you can keep the pressure on this champions and not go OOM. Otherwise against matchups that you can get ahold of or that tend to fight early (Riven being a good example), Doran’s Blade start tends to be my go-to opening.
With both starts I tend to do a camp at level 1 (raptors or wolves depending on where your jungler is starting) with Q start. Make sure you position so you hit the entire camp with your Q or you’re going to waste time. After this you’ll have level 2 and more gold to spend on potions so you don’t go oom from that Doran’s blade start (I tend to grab 2 mana pots with Doran’s blade start). After this you TP back to lane and you may be able to get a jump on the enemy laner if they didn’t prepare the wave properly. A lot of times you can brute force since level 2 is a big power spike, but you still need to be wary of the minion wave and judge if you think you can take that much punishment vs that specific champion. Otherwise just do an aggressive trade but not an all-in so you don’t die to minions early.
If you go the Flask start and do a camp you can buy a ward as well, heads up! Now, I know there will be some that say it’s not a good idea to do a camp with flask and tp back because you’re wasting potential flask charges if you just went to lane and tp’d later, but hear me out. Olaf is an immobile champion and tends to run ghost; getting that ward early so you can keep the pressure over an extending laning phase (flask + a ton of potions) is a big deal. Olaf getting shut down early makes it so hard to be useful since he’s a champion that wants to get a lead in lane in order to snowball the game. It’s very hard to play Olaf from behind.
ABILITY/ITEM ORDER + POWERSPIKES
For ability order, go with this:
- R > Q > E > W
I usually go for Lvl 1 Q, Lvl 2 E, Lvl 3 Q and don’t pickup W until Lvl 4. The reason behind this is that it loads a LOT more damage at level 3 because of the no CD Q so it can make you much more dangerous than getting 1 extra auto in and lifesteal that barely heals you that early into the game. There’s another reason why you max Q besides the fact it’s overall better dps. It gives you better chase (which means harder for the enemy to run, and also makes your roam ganks stronger) and more waveclear so you can roam ASAP if the enemy laner will not leave his tower.
I’d only max E first if you’re vs a matchup that you KNOW will be stacking a ton of armor. Even then I like to go 3 points into Q then begin maxing E so that way early I can have kill pressure still and decent waveclear.
Now let’s go over powerspikes breifly. Olaf’s powerspikes tend to be the following:
- Level 2 (Q + E available)
- Level 3 (2 points into Q)
- Level 6 (Ultimate)
- Level 9 (Rank 5 Q)
- Level 11 (Rank 2 Ultimate)
- Level 13 (Rank 5 E)
There are also item powerspikes but because of how many different items Olaf can build, it can get a bit difficult to explain all of them. It more or less boils down to judgement and when you complete certain items.
Currently for items, I currently have been rushing a hydra (tiamat then lifesteal, get that damage first!). This is primarily in anticipation of the new Titanic Hydra item coming out which will be GREAT on Olaf. Make sure at some point you pickup at least t1 boots, MS is really important on Olaf. After Hydra I usually go Dead Man’s Plate (or get a cowl before then Dead Man’s Plate if I’m vs AP’s that I need to be dueling consistently). Dead Man’s Plate is the reason I’ve dropped Righteous Glory recently. It gives Health, Armor, and 2 great passives. It gives you enough MS to not need another speedup item in your own item build typically. Couple with with distortion boots to amplify your Ghost and reduce it’s CD and you’ll be borderline impossible to kite.
From here your build can vary depending on how your game is advancing and what you need. Let’s take a generic looking enemy team comp and assume they have a mage mid and an AD top, ADC, etc. A build order might look like this:
Tiamat –> T1 Boots –> Hydra –> Tabi –> Dead Man’s Plate –> T3 Distortion –> Cowl –> Spirit Visage –> Omen –> Cleaver
Don’t take that as you must build like this every game. There can be games where you need more armor early or more MR early, sometimes you can get away with maybe a 2nd damage item right after Dead Man’s Plate if you’re that far ahead. Use your judgement of what you can do and what your team may need.
For Olaf’s ultimate (Ragnarok) I’ve seen people ask when to use this ability. Honestly don’t overthink this ability. DO NOT SAVE THIS FOR WHEN YOU’RE CRITICALLY LOW HEALTH. Use this for when you’re about to be CC’d and you want to pick a fight. This means if you think you can all-in that Riven that’s about to use that 3rd Q knockup to harass you, do it. If that Jax decides to use his counterstrike into Q to harass you and you want to smash his sorry ass into the ground, go for it. Just make sure that you check the basic stuff like do you think the enemy jungler is near, are you fighting in 3 waves of minions at level 4, etc. Otherwise use his ultimate to stop cc so you can keep up your dps. This includes teamfights, which essentially boils down to: If I’m about to get hit by CC, better press R. If it’s something like Alistar or Lee, may need to use it a bit earlier since if they get the knockback, you’re already knocked back. You can also use it just for the extra damage during a duel or save it for when they run away if you think they won’t actually stay to the death.
Please do not try to be that guy that saves his Ultimate to try and couple it with your W at low health. That Riven won’t care, she’s just going to execute your low-health ass. That Jax probably isn’t going to mind sticking around for 1 extra auto-attack.
Olaf is in fact a lane bully. Use his kit properly in doing so. He’s not a harass/poke champ like Lissandra or Pantheon. He is a go big or go home champion. You’ll need to learn when you’re allowed to be aggressive then go all-in so you don’t die to junglers or just poor decisions on deciding when to fight (like you probably don’t want to ult towards that Gnar when he still has his jump up. He’s just going to walk away; instead consider using it when his jump is on CD + you land an axe on him so now he can’t escape).
To give some context: usually you want to view your Q as a tool to set yourself up. Don’t think of your Q as harass, it’s a way for you to get in range for more follow-up Q’s, E’s, and autos. If you only spam Q you better have a fuckton of mana pots, otherwise you will go oom fast. Spamming Q is usually not the best idea because of how expensive and spammable the ability is early on. So every Q should count (basically either use it to follow up or get CS that would otherwise be too dangerous to get). You can use your Q to push minions, just keep in mind how much mana you have and if you’re planning on picking a fight at dragon soon, needing to keep up pressure to split for w/e reason, or if you’re about to go back to base.
I won’t go into matchups considering that’s too much for 1 post. Really should make a guide, but basically play smart, use your Q’s efficiently (AND LAND THEM. You wouldn’t expect a Graves who misses every Buckshot to win lane, why should you?), and make sure you manipulate the minion wave so you can constantly force your opponents to overextend. You need lane to chase enemies down, so being pushed at the enemy tower isn’t usually good.
Alright I need to wrap this post up. I can answer more specific questions in the comments below but here’s the end of this post:
For teamfighting, you should view yourself as an anti-carry. Early/mid game always dive those squishy champions. Obviously don’t go in 1v5, but when given the opportunity dive those squishy champions. If the enemy Ezreal blows both his Arcane Shift and flash to escape you,STOP CHASING, he’s out of the fight, go back and clean whoever is left. Toss a Q and try to hit him as he tries to re-enter so that way he’ll be slowed and won’t be able to return as quickly, therefore he can’t dps because he’s not in range. If a carry gets back into range after blowing their escapes, you can re-engage then.
Late game I honestly feel like you should still be an anti-carry. However this will depend on several factors like does your team just need a frontline, a diver, a peeler, etc. So use your judgement; do you have 4 squishies and then you? Better be a frontline. Does your team have a vi/pantheon with you? You could probably dive that backline and kill them quickly. Does the enemy team have this crazed Darius who just won’t stop running at your carries, and you have a tank to stall the backline off? Peel! Use that judgement!
Jeez, I haven’t even eaten today. Sorry for the wall of text, if you have questions let me know!
Edit: Also final reminder, with the Juggernaut patch, good chance the build will get switched up a smidge.