On Aug 24, the long-awaited Udyr rework finally hit the live servers. From his skillset, in-game champion model, to all of his splash arts outside the game, it garnered the attention of a lot of players, including those that don’t normally play Udyr.
It’s been about a week since his rework, so here’s a breakdown of how Udyr’s being used on the Korean server, as well as an expert’s insight to the Udyr rework.
Udyr has new spirit animals: A recap of his skillset
Pre-rework, Udyr had four stances: Tiger [Q], Turtle [W], Bear [E], and Phoenix [R] stance. While the in-game functions haven’t changed, his abilities now represent Freljordian Demigods [the Spirit Guard Udyr skin still embraces the original four animals]. His passive [Awakened Spirit] now allows him to re-cast one of his abilities once again, as well as granting him 30% attack speed in his next two autos & refunds 5% of its cooldown on-hit.
While the extra movespeed from his old passive did not make the cut into the rework, Udyr can now re-cast [awaken] one of Q/W/E/R, granting extra effects: Enhanced Q makes Udyr attack faster and makes his autos summon lightning, W grants him double the shield plus more on-hit lifesteal, E makes him faster and immune to CC, and his R now summons a storm [like Viktor’s ult] that follows his enemies and does max health damage. The re-cast aspect of Udyr’s rework also matches how Lee Sin trained Udyr in the lore,
Udyr's report card in KR solo queue
Apart from his pick rate, Udyr’s solo queue stats weren’t that great in the early days of post-rework. He went from having a 1% to 14% pick rate, but his win rate was at a mere 43%. The biggest problem was with his Q, Wilding Claw, as it lacked damage even in its enhanced form. Because of how underwhelming he was when maxing Q, Riot hotfixed Udyr on Aug 26, which buffed his Q and E, while slightly nerfing his sustain on his W. The goal of this hotfix is to give him more options as a champion, as players felt that maxing R on the reworked Udyr was far better than taking Q.
After the hotfix, his win rate in solo queue started to recover; especially in the jungle, where his win rate climbed to 48%.
To hear more of an expert's opinion on the reworked Udyr, I had a chance to speak with Lee “Shrimp” Byung-hoon, a former professional jungler who’s played a lot of Udyr games both before and after his rework. He shared his opinion on the state of the reworked Udyr, as well as how he should be played.
Overall impression of the Udyr rework?
Udyr can definitely be played top and jungle, and even mid, depending on the matchup. I think he can be flexed into multiple roles. As a jungler, I think that he’s become a lot weaker; Udyr was strong in the early game pre-rework, but after the rework, he’s definitely more susceptible to invades from the enemy jungler. It’s hard to manage his HP while jungling, and he’s vulnerable when his Awakened abilities are on cooldown, so that’s when he’s more susceptible to invades. However, the flip side is that I think his late-game potential has gone up quite significantly.
As a jungler, I honestly believe that the pre-rework Udyr was a lot better. However, I think that the low win rate that he has is because not only it hasn’t been that long since the rework, it’s also the fact that he’s gotten a lot weaker in the early game. With the hotfix coming in as well, I think that his win rate will steadily climb to a comfortable spot.
In terms of item build and skill order, I think that R max will still be stronger over Q. Building Sunfire Aegis or Turbo Chemtank into Demonic Embrace will truly bring out the R max Udyr. In the end, it depends on what your team comp looks like in solo queue. If you’re the solo AP champion in your team, then definitely look to rush Demonic Embrace second; if not, then I think mixing in a Frozen Heart in your build will definitely be an option. It feels like Demonic Embrace does give him a huge power spike, so I think it’s a core item for him.
I think taking Grasp of the Undying as a Keystone rune in the top lane is good in the top lane, but in the jungle, I think Conqueror is just the way to go. I’ve tested and even watched others try out Press the Attack, but I don’t think it’s that good, because Udyr doesn’t really get to auto attack that much in teamfights. Obviously, you want to weave in AAs whenever you use your abilities, so I think being this in-fighting style Juggernaut while sustaining enemy damage with Conqueror and W is the best way to play him. As a jungler, I honestly think there’s no other Keystone rune choice other than Conqueror, but I do want to hear what others have to say about it.
Also, don’t take Phase Rush. It’s trash.
Was the rework a success?
I think he still has the same weaknesses as the pre-rework Udyr, as he’s still weak in front to back teamfights. He’s become a lot harder to play, because you have to know when to use Awakened abilities, and have to weave in more AAs like Lee Sin. You can’t just blindly charge in like the pre-rework days, and he can get punished heavily if you mess up in using the Awakened abilities. He definitely has a learning curve.
Possibilities of seeing him in pro play?
I think he definitely will, but I also think only time will tell. I’ve been very outspoken on how champions like Karthus and Fiddlesticks should also be meta, but they haven’t. In the end, it’s all down to how much pro teams and players have success with him, both in scrims and in matches.
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