Yes I’m still running with that Prolaf joke. That was an amazing game and I will give it the respect it deserves by making a joke out of my role in it. So hey, have you fine folks ever wanted to be a badass viking, running into the fray like an angry honey badger and not giving a single damn? Well I hate to break it to you, but League doesn’t have that many guys who can do that. Olaf is the exception.
Olaf’s playstyle is exactly what you’d expect from, well, a berserker (or any kind of viking really). He’s big, he hits like a truck that happens to be swinging axes like a madman, and he cannot be stopped. As someone (whose name escapes me, sorry man) on r/LeagueOfLegends put it, likely in different words because I can’t find the source: “You’re a rampaging viking warrior. Act like it.” In fact, that’s Olaf’s biggest strength. He’s a great duelist because he gets better the worse off he is, not to mention the true damage that completely wrecks people early game.
Olaf’s got a huge downside, though: He’s incredibly easy to kite before six and his axe is probably the least reliable crowd control since hoping the enemy decides to stop moving. In the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing (or against someone with slow reaction time), the axe is great, but don’t rely on it, especially if you’re trying to gank with it. Get someone else to slow or stun them, then ruin their face.
If anyone is wondering how to be Prolaf, King of Promacia… Well, don’t take my advice because I’m actually pretty awful as him. If you want some decent build and skill order stuff, though, here ya go. I start off like I do most of my bruisers, either cloth armor and five pots or – more frequently – a regen pendent to grab an early Philosopher’s Stone. After that, it’s normally Heart of Gold, followed by Phage or Hexdrinker depending on what I need. After that, finish off your items and the game should be over with. Skill-wise, I always start with Reckless Swing. Not only is it great for leashing (have I mention I’ve never jungled as him?), but the true damage is crazy at level one or two. The early regen pendent also lets you be fairly safe about using it.
After that, grab either Vicious Strikes or Undertow. I personally like Undertow at level two, because getting hit with a slow really scares people and frightened players usually get more passive. The more of a threat they perceive you as (whether or not you are one), the better. Only get one point in Undertow, though; it’s too sketchy to invest a lot of early points in.
Y’know what? I’m feeling good enough – not in my own personal skill, but rather knowledge about the character and the game – to give some general playing advice. The thing I said about making yourself out to be a threat? That’s true for every part of the game, but especially the laning phase (and it’s really true for every champion, but hey). Just… Be smart about it. If you’re safe and think you can come out ahead, land your Undertow then rush in with some true damage. Do that enough and they’re either dead or out of lane. Bonus points if you can keep your bushes warded and make their jungler waste time camping.
In terms of real fighting, like a small skirmish or teamfight, always let someone else tank or otherwise get rid of the crowd-control. Blowing other cooldowns are also good. Just let someone else initiate and turn on Prolaf Mode. Find the scariest person on the team. Pop your ultimate or ghost as needed, throw an axe and make that person’s day absolutely miserable. Even if you can’t get a clean kill (although you should try), get them out of the fight. Chase them away, kill them, whatever works.
Anyhoo, Olaf is all kinds of fun but he definitely has a learning curve. Being aggressive and threatening is all well and good, but be smart about it. Olaf’s a bruiser and they can usually come back fairly well even after a bit of a rough start, but don’t completely blow your early game. If you like the idea of being a honey badger, then definitely pick him up. Otherwise, give him a shot on a free week. And on that note, I’m out. As always, thanks for reading and have a good’un.