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League of Legends: How to play Udyr

Udyr’s return to the meta was an unlikely chance occurrence after Riot’s item rework. Since then, Udyr has become king of the jungle, and here’s how to play him.

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For years, Udyr has been a champion stuck in stasis. As an odd mixture of a tank, duelist, and bruiser, Udyr occupied a specific, but oftentimes unnecessary role in the jungle. The community at large, and even Riot Games themselves, neglected the champion, however everything changed for Udyr is season 11. Udyr undoubtedly benefited the most from the item rework that came with season 11, but also saw massive buffs to his Phoenix Stance. Suddenly a fast clearing jungler that simultaneously poses a constant gank threat, Udyr has risen both in soloq and professional play.

Udyr has undergone some significant changes since his resurgence. What once worked for the champion at the dawn of season 11 may no longer be as effective. Still, when played correctly and with the proper build, Udyr can stand as the king of the jungle.

Udyr’s jungle clear and fight potential

Udyr’s insanely fast jungle clear time is by far his greatest asset. In an isolated matchup, very few junglers can compete with Udyr’s full clear time. In order to achieve this, you’ll want to start with your Q (Tiger Stance). Tiger Stance enables Udyr’s fast clear time by increasing your attack speed. This allows you to out farm your opponent and get to your lanes for ganks far faster.

After unlocking your ultimate, R (Phoenix Stance) will become your primary farming ability. Ideally when you start to hit your Mythic item power spikes, you can start invading your opponent’s jungle. Once again, Udyr’s incredible movement and attack speed, bolstered by his item build which will be expanded upon later, not only allow you farm your own jungle, but deprave your enemy jungler of their own camps.

Your E (Bear Stance) is essential to pulling off a successful gank. Bear Stance is not only a gap closer, providing a sudden burst of movement speed, but also provides an important stun. Though on a 1 second stun, the 6 second cooldown timer allows you to pull off multiple stuns in the same fight. This is incredibly useful in both early game ganks and late game team fights, as you can move from target to target, preferably seeking out enemy carries.

In a full blown team fight, your inherent movement and attack speed will allow you to jump on carries, protect your backline, and interrupt opponents. If necessary, Udyr can also play a quasi-tank role, soaking up damage not only with items in his build but also his W (Turtle Stance).

Is Turbo Chemtank still viable?

The item that has primarily enabled Udyr’s renaissance is Turbo Chemtank. Though the item and the champion have both been nerfed in recent patches, this is still an incredibly viable and popular build. The Mythic item still gives a 40% increase to movement speed for 4 seconds. When paired with either the summoner spell Ghost or Udyr’s Bear Stance, the champion can close massive gaps in a matter of seconds.

If you’re going the Chemtank route, your next item should be a more tanky option so you can survive the engages you’ll be making. Dead Man’s Plate fulfills this need while also providing bonus movement speed. From here, either Thornmail or Force of Nature can build on your base health and armor. 

While Chemtank has long been the meta build, Udyr is significantly more versatile now in terms of builds. Frostfire Gauntlet is now a popular early Mythic for Udyr in professional play. Though not providing any additional movement speed, it’s active ability both speeds up clear times and slows enemy champions. Sunfire Aegis has been a longstanding alternative build for Udyr players looking to fit a more tank focused role.

Which runes fit Udyr’s playstyle?

Phase Rush is undoubtedly the best keystone for Udyr players, as it maximizes movement speed and provides incentive to run down multiple targets in a fight. Phase Rush also grants 75% slow resistance, making you an incredibly difficult target to stop. Your rest of your runes should follow this similar philosophy, making Nimbus Cloak, Celerity, and Waterwalking the clear choices. 

For secondary runes, Triumph similarly rewards Udyr’s aggressive playstyle by restoring a percentage of your health with takedowns. Tenacity also rewards takedowns, but extends it from champions to monsters, large monsters, and even minion kills. 

Udyr is one of League of Legend’s oldest champions, and after years of hiatus, has become one of it’s strongest junglers. For newer jungle players, Udyr is a prime pick as he is a relatively easy champion to play mechanically and performs the fundamental roles of a jungler exceedingly well. 

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Image Credit: Riot Games