Warwick, now stylized as the Uncaged Wrath of Zaun, has been due for a rework for some time. The last couple days have seen the hype for his new incarnation build, as Riot has released teasers for what the new rework will bring.
The time for teasers has come to an end, however, as the reworked Warwick went live on the Public Test Realm Tuesday afternoon. The new Warwick preserves the same ease of use that we've grown used to with the old version of the champion, but also gave him some impressive new tools to play with, including a flavorful update to both his Ultimate and Blood Scent.
Reactions to the new Warwick have been overwhelming, as analysts and pros alike have shown shock at the raw power in the new kit. Much of Warwick's old strengths -- specifically his percentage damage and his powerful sustain -- have been either preserved or doubled down on. In addition, many of Warwick's key weaknesses were removed, since his new E makes him impossible to burst down, and his reworked Blood Scent gives him the tool to impact the early game in a way he never could before.
Before we talk about any of that, though, let'ss go over the new Warwick's updated kit. First off, his passive is largely the same as it was before, with two key differences. He only is healed from his auto attacks if he's beneath 50% hp, and the healing is tripled if he's beneath 25%. This ends the era of Warwick being able to jungle at 100% hp for the entire game, as now he's going to take a beating when he's not bloodied himself. It also means that auto attacking champions are going to have even more trouble dueling Warwick, as Aatrox has time and again proven that triple healing from an on-auto attack proc is no joke.
Hungering Strike has now been renamed to Jaws of the Beast and has added functionality. Instead of just being the same old point and click damage spell that it previously was, the spell now also allows Warwick to clamp onto his target as long as you hold down the key, at least for a short time. The sticking power that this grants Warwick is not to be underestimated -- he's always been a potent force against any champion he can keep in auto-attack range, and this helps him do just that.
Blood Hunt retains its old functionality, but now has a crop of new features tied into it. Warwick now only gets the movement speed buff when moving towards wounded targets, but he now also gains dramatically increased attack speed against those targets. Furthermore, if any target is beneath 20% health, all of his bonuses are tripled which, for reference, means the ability will grant him 330% bonus attack speed at max rank. As if that weren't enough, he can now activate that ability occasionally to sense the location of all enemy champions and mark the nearest one, granting Warwick bonuses as if he were on a Blood Hunt, regardless of their hp.
His howl has been completely reworked, and now is a combination damage mitigation skill and a crowd control ability. The first activation causes Warwick to take massively reduced damage for 2.5 seconds. At the end of that duration, or whenever you choose to reactivate the ability, Warwick will howl and fear nearby enemies, causing them to flee from him in much the same way Hecarim's Onslaught of Shadows does. The ability is on a notable short cooldown -- 11 seconds at rank 5 -- and will likely mean that Warwick's days of being a weak teamfighter are at an end, as he now has disruption roughly on par with other tanks.
Finally, Infinite Duress has had an impressive-looking facelift. Instead of being a point-and-click ability, Warwick's ultimate is now a skill shot. Instead of a projectile, however, Warwick flings himself forward, quickly traversing an area equal to how far he could run in 2.5 seconds. Any target he runs into along the leap becomes suppressed and takes a beating very similar to the current incarnation of Infinite Duress. Warwick also heals for all the damage the skill does, making it a very potent dueling tool, as well as a possible escape since he is immune to all disables during the leap.
The new Warwick looks be a potential powerhouse out of the jungle, but the reaction of the community may keep him from being released in such a state, especially after the balance issue the last large scale rework has proven to be. Poppy has been a competitive terror since nearly day one, and Riot is sure to do everything they can to ensure Warwick doesn't follow in the same vein. Still, even if his numbers do take a hit in order to preemptively nuzzle him a bit, the new kit looks to be a huge step forward for Warwick as it not only helps fix his gameplay issues it also makes him much more appealing to play, a fact that even detractors of the new rework appreciate.
WWG Lead Host Matt Best seemed to agree with that sentiment when asked about the latest in Riot's string of Champion Reworks. "Forget about the ADC problem we’re having (or lackthereof), Warwick is going to be the newest problem on the Rift. His shield/fear is going to terrorize many while his leap will certainly see a reduction immediately. It’s a good thing he looks fantastic out there to make up for all the incoming nerfs he’s about to get hit with."