I've seen pretty beastly udyr junglers as well as really good top lane udyrs. Is he more useful in the jungle or in top lane? Any ideas on builds/runes/masteries for each as well?
Udyr is a funny champion because he plays very differently based on what stance you choose to prioritize. I’ll try to summarize the strengths of Lane Tiger, Lane Phoenix, Tiger Jungle and Phoenix Jungle.
Use tanky masteries 0/21/9. 0/21/9 is optimal on the jungle builds since it allows you to get increased buff duration and increased movement speed. You could also run 9/21/0 but Udyr really enjoys having movement speed boosts given by the Utility tree since he lacks a gap closer. Sometimes people will run 9/21/0 or 21/9/0 on Top Udyr, but that mainly depends on what your team needs. Udyr gets pretty tanky innately thanks to his Turtle stance giving a relatively strong shield.
- Both Top and Jungle Udyr enjoy having movement speed quints since he lacks a gap closer.
- Phoenix stance loves attack speed since it allows you to proc the persistent effect more quickly.
- Tiger stance benefits from Armor Penetration or Attack Damage.
- If you are in the jungle run flat armor runes.
- If you are in top lane it is best to customize against your opponent, but is pretty standard to default to flat armor runes.
- If you are against an AP opponent top such as Ryze or Rumble then it can help to have flat MR runes. Otherwise, use MR per level for late game effectiveness.
- In the jungle I normally run MR per level runes since I won't be taking much magic damage until later in the game. If I know I'm going to spend a lot of time ganking mid lane early, then I look into putting on flat MR runes.
General Top Udyr:
Udyr is the master of sitting in lane and farming. He has great sustain with Turtle stance and can stun and run from ganks with his Bear stance. He is strongest against champions that rely on poke to win, such as Gangplank, since he can easily shield their damage with a well timed Turtle stance.
He wins most lanes by out-sustaining the enemy champion and getting more farmed as a result. It usually reaches the point where Udyr can easily bully the opponent out of lane with a combination of Bear and Tiger stances, then heal any damage taken by using Turtle stance.
Take care to not swap stances too often early on, or you will quickly find yourself running dry on mana. If it becomes too much of a problem, look into investing into a Philosopher’s Stone, which turns into the great speed boosting Shurelya’s Reverie, or if facing an AP champion top, maybe a Chalice of Harmony.
These can be much more diverse than the jungle, so take what feels best to you.
Teleport: This allows you to teleport to a ward at Dragon and help your team quickly.
Flash: This is strong on almost any champion, and Udyr enjoys the ability to flash with a Bear stance stun.
Ignite/Exhaust: Grabbing one of these can allow you to gain an advantage in any fights you have against your lane opponent and help influence later team fights.
This is the most common form of top lane Udyr that you will find.
Play cautiously in the beginning until you have a Wriggle’s Lantern, then you can become much more aggressive. Focus on leveling Turtle and Tiger stance with at least one point in Bear stance to discourage ganks or enemy aggression.
Prioritize a Wriggle’s Lantern, then Phage is also really strong, giving you the ability to stick to opponents without having to Bear stance.
This isn’t as common since it automatically pushes the lane every time the Phoenix effect procs, making you more susceptible to getting ganked. If you want to play Phoenix Udyr than I’d suggest you jungle him as that is where he is most efficient.
General Jungle Udyr:
He can stay at high health thanks to his Turtle stance shielding and healing him. His ganks are strong with Bear stance giving a speed boost and stun on hit effect. Don’t be afraid to initiate your ganks with a flash onto the enemy, this is particularly effective if the lane has the ability to chain hard CC to your stun.
The most common item start is Boots + 3 potions. Udyr loves the movement speed for early ganks and it allows him to quickly run between camps.
- Flash and Smite for the jungle.
He lacks any sort of gap closer besides the speed boost that Bear stance gives, so oftentimes you will use Flash to initiate a gank.
Smite is mandatory for controlling the Jungle objectives (buffs, Dragon, and Baron).
Tiger jungle excels in doing massive damage to single targets which makes it better at controlling Baron and Dragon compared to Phoenix. However, it lacks the ability to clear super quickly since it lacks the same amount of AoE damage. Udyr has impressive damage with either stance, but Tiger in particular can absolutely shred squishier targets. He also excels at pushing over towers thanks to the increased AS.
Tiger Udyr wants a Wriggle’s Lantern, unlike Phoenix, to help increase his clear speed. He doesn’t really need the attack speed from Wit’s End thanks to the persistent effect on the Tiger Stance.
This is the most common form of Jungle Udyr. The AoE effect from Phoenix allows you to quickly clear camps and farm the jungle very efficiently.
Phoenix benefits the most from attack speed so, unlike Tiger Udyr, it is common to skip the Wriggle’s Lantern and go straight for an attack speed increase such as Wit’s End. Wit’s End also helps fill Udyr’s role as a bruiser making him tankier with more damage. I generally prioritize Level 2 boots earlier than other jungles since Phoenix Udyr usually has no problem clearing the jungle but wants movement speed to make his ganks more effective.
A lot of Udyr games and the Udyr guides on Solomid.net