Nunu Build Guide by pjake
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
So how do we maximize his effectiveness from beginning to end? I believe that the way to go is concentrate your efforts on survivability and support. By doing this, you will allow your teammates to be the true stars and steamroll your opponents.
This is NOT a build for people who desire super high K/D or people who feel like they must be getting all the kills. This build is more suitable for arranged 5's teams, although it will work incredibly well if you're able to communicate in chat what you're planning on doing and why.
This is in no way a troll build just because it is unique and different. It is meant for specific situations and team comps. Do not complain to me that it does not work in solo queue, although it works for me there, because your team was too stupid to know how to work with you. I repeat over an over in this guide that support/tank Nunu is meant for arranged 5's, were your team knows what you will bring to the table and how they will benefit from it.
I want to bring a new idea to the League and show that it if you try it in the right situation, it WILL help you win games. This does not mean every Nunu game should be done this way. I am trying to show that every champ has multiple paths to victory, so we should all try new things and make the game better in doing so.
Here are links to a few different guides that I like if you are more interested in a TRADITIONAL Nunu build. I will NOT be adding an AP Carry Nunu build because other people have already done it and I want to do something new here. Please go and +1 these other builds because they put in a lot of time and I don't want to take anything away from them.
If you are interested in a laning, AP Carry Nunu build, go check this one out, I like it.
Nunu: Chilling them to the Core
If you're looking for a Jungle Ap Carry Nunu, check this one out, even though it's not organized too well
Nunu- the Jungling Yeti Rider
Thanks and Appreciation
I want to thank the community for all the great help they have given me and for guides that are our there because they have helped me become a better player. I want to give back to the community what people like EvilDice and Considereth have given to me.
I will strive to put as much info as I possibly can on this guide to try and make it the ultimate jungle support/tank Nunu guide. If you like my ideas, tips, and build, please leave a comment and UP VOTE it! Also, please do not down vote it just because you don't like to build Nunu in this way. Vote up or down based upon how well this build accomplishes what it set out to accomplish please!
6/2/11 - Got all my masteries, runes, items, skill orders done, and wrote the Opening, Introduction, Pros / Cons, Runes, Masteries, Summoner Spells, Nunu's skillz, and the first 3 headers under the jungling section
6/3/11 - Counter Jungling, Full Jungle Sweep, and Items sections are done. I have begun the section on enemy junglers.I also put up the placeholder sections and did some cosmetic tweaks.
6/4/11 - The Importance of Map Vision and Control, Mid Game Mindset, and Late Game Finishing are completed. Essentially the guide is done except for cosmetic changes.
6/22/11 - Made changes in the introduction, items section about merc treads, added two optional boots in alternate items, added "Why Don't I Build Rabadon's Deathcap" section, and clarified sections on who to give Red and Blue Buffs to in response to comments to my guide.
6/23/11 - Today this guide became the #1 Primary Nunu guide on MOBAfire. Thank you to everyone. I added Malphite to enemy junglers and I made other minor changes and grammar fixes.
8/19/11 - I made a quick update on items, and I'm planning on adding sections about current viability and jungling pre-30/without t3 runes very soon.
1/12/12 - I am working towards completing this guide so I can put it to rest and just let it sit forever. I'll be making changes on the build, masteries, runes, and overall playstyle in the new jungle.
7/8/12 - I updated the runes, masteries, skill order, and items because the Jayce Patch passive change on Nunu. I think this will really make Nunu a good option again in the jungle, maybe even a bit OP.
Freljord is an unforgiving land covered in snow and ice. Travel, especially in the winter, can be very dangerous. The elements often claim even those who have spent their entire lives there. The boy known as Nunu is defined by such tragedy. One day when he was a young child, Nunu rode on his father's back as they returned from a trapping expedition in the mountains. An unexpected blizzard came upon them, forcing them to seek refuge in a cave. The tempest was the worst in countless years, and it lasted for days. Nunu's father left to find food, but he never returned.
The blizzard eventually cleared, and the young child lay dying on the mountainside. Fortunately for Nunu, this was the land of the yetis, who are powerful beasts with whom Nunu's father had secured an arrangement for safe passage. A young yeti boy named Willump found Nunu and brought him home. From then on Nunu was raised by the yetis, whose culture remains a mystery to most Runeterrans. The boy quickly discovered that the seemingly savage creatures were in fact deeply spiritual beings living in harmony with their environment. They are very territorial and unafraid of defending themselves if called upon to do so. The yetis have watched the rest of Valoran, and they can smell the change on the wind. When the League of Legends was formed, the yetis knew they needed a champion. Riding his brother Willump, Nunu became that champion. Those who follow the League know that the boy is mature beyond his years, but, while he appears human, his mind is that of his adoptive kin.
If this is him now, imagine what Nunu will be like when he grows up!
*Thanks to Riot Games for the awesome lore in LoL.
Pros / Cons
- The best level 1 counter jungler in the game
- Jungles quickly, sustainably, and at high HP because of Consume
- Ganks are ridiculous at level 4 because of Ice Blast and Blood Boil
- Absolute Zero will make the other team mess their pants if you time it right... EMPIRE!!!
- Blood Boil transforms your AD carries into GODS
- Spell Vamp on Nunu is ridiculous when paired with Consume and Absolute Zero
- Tanky as heck with this item setup
- This build is less expensive than your typical AP Carry build which allows you to always have oracle on and actually finish your build.
- Double Will of the Ancients is just way too strong
- You will get focused as soon as you pop Absolute Zero in a team fight
- Not a great initiator because you need to use Flash to do it and that isn't reliable because of it's long cooldown
- As a support you have no targetable heal for your teammates, you have to rely on the spell vamp from Will of the Ancients
- This item item build is NOT a carry build so if you're looking for crazy AP, look somewhere else
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration : The magic pen really helps you when you go to gank at level 4 with your Ice Blast and they will be more useful for much longer than anything else.
- greater mark of desolation : These will improve your early jungle speed and will get you that couple extra points of auto attack damage that just might kill someone.
- Greater Mark of Attack Speed : I choose attack speed in this build because it really speeds up your jungle and procs your passive, which will be a big help to you in giving up your blue buff ASAP.
- Greater Seal of Armor : These are the most common seals for jungle champs. In the new jungle you will stay at high HP with just this armor, Consume and a few health potions. You will eventually become your team's tank/aurabot so you need all the armor you can get.
- greater seal of vitality : I tested these out in the new jungle and they work fine. You will never get too low if you get a leash at all. The thing to think about are priorities. Do you want the 13 armor or the 175 HP at level 18. It's up to you, but I think I'll stick with the armor so I don't get blown up by the other team's AD during early ganks.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist : These glyphs really come in handy late game when you are trying to be as tanky as possible. This is the most optimal choice imo.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction : These are good because they will put you at about 38% CDR at level 18 when you get your Frozen Heart.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist : If you are one who really wants to gank hard at level 4, these will be very good for you. If you are not a balls to the wall ganker, go with Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power : I would rank these last out of these three because your AP is not going to be too high and you are not going to be an AP carry with this build. But if you really must have more AP, they will do the trick with an extra 27 AP at level 18.
- Greater Quintessence of Health : These will really help you in your early jungle and will still be worthwhile when you're super tanky at the end. Not really as necessary in the new jungle, but still solid.
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed : Although they are another super expensive Quintessence, they will help you jungle faster and catch up easily with Blood Boil to get an Ice Blast on your enemy for the kill. Probably the best choice and it is the one I would recommend.
- Greater Quintessence of Gold : Because of Nunu's excellent sustain and built in MS buff you can 100% get away with Gp10 quints. I REALLY want to try this out because I know that it will be good. 13 gp10 (passive) + 3 (runes) + 10 (items) = 26 Gp10 or 156 gold per minute starting around 11 minutes (when you should be able to have HoG and Philo. By 25 minutes you have gained 2184 gold passively, that is pretty good.
I have gone to 0/21/9 on my tank/support junglers like Amumu, Maokai, Alistar because they can really bcome a nusiance late game in fights, get all their cc off and soak damage. Nunu clears fast because of Consume and Ice Blast and the o-tree isn't really worth it in my opinion.
Top Tier Choices
- Flash : This will save your life if you need to escape and it will setup a perfect initiation. Too good to pass up in my mind. Oh man, have you ever flashed away into a bush to make your opponent think you are too scared to fight and you watch them try to face check and run right into your ultimate and die? It's so much more funny than you can ever imagine...
- Smite : I agree with Stonewall008 that you are a bad jungler if you fail to take smite. You can steal buffs and it is 100% necessary to get blue buff at level 1 and red buff at level 3. You are a fail jungler if you do not take Smite. If you disagree, come scrim me and watch me steal your Baron and spam laugh as I murder you with my brand new purple buff.
Alternate Summoner Spells
- Ghost : I think it's a little unnecessary because you have Blood Boil but if you are really terrible with flash, I guess it is ok.
- Cleanse : You're going to be facing a lot of CC because you will be one of the first into a team fight. It's not better than Smite or Flash but I would understand you taking it.
- Clairvoyance : If no one on your team has taken it, you could always take it instead of Flash. I strongly advise against this, but if you feel confident about your ability to not get caught in a bad position, it can be a great help to your team all game long.
- Exhaust : Another one to think of if no one on your team took it. You already have an attack speed and slow on your Ice Blast and your Absolute Zero so this may be enough to shut down a team with two or more attack speed champs like Ashe, Master Yi, Xin Zhao or Tryndamere.
- Clarity : I could understand someone who says, "but taking this will allow me to pass off my blue buff at level 1!" Which is true, but it is so not worth it. If you are like me and you really want to pass off your blue, do it at 7:45 when it respawns because not getting it at level 1 will REALLY slow your jungle down.
- Fortify : This is not a terrible spell, and it is vastly overlooked by almost all teams. Convince your pure tank to take it because you do not have the Summoner Spell slot to spare.
- Heal : This is better left in the hands of someone in a duo lane. It definitely is less useful late game than most other spells. A well timed heal, on the other hand, can win a team fight.
- Ignite : Leave this for your carries.
- Rally : Who takes rally??? I have not seen this in months. you don't have the slot for it.
- Revive : "Take that Pantheon...... OMG, RUN HE'S ULTING BACK IN!!!" Not for you though.
- Teleport : Convince your top lane to take this so that they can teleport to the ward you put down before you take down the dragon at level 6. Every team should have at least 1 to stop split pushes and it might as well be your well fed top laner.
You'll want to abuse Nunu's passive as much as possible in your early game. It will keep your mana pool high as you spam Consume and Ice Blast. Be aware though that if you spam too much without blue buff, this will NOT save you from running out of mana. The Jayce patch dropped the stacks to activate the passive down from 7 to 5, which is a HUGE buff to Nunu's mana sustain at early levels.
This is by far and away the best jungling spell in the game. It's a built-in smite that heals you, what more could you ask for? Use it in the jungle, use it in lane when you need to cover, use it to help you push, use it to heal up as you run away from a gank, and use it during a team fight to keep yourself up and your auras effective. Partnered with spell vamp, this is a ridiculous heal. Take my full item build stats at level 18 with Will of the Ancients. 345 from consume + 150 from AP + 180 from spell vamp = 675 hp every 4.8 seconds?!?! Not too shabby if I do say so myself. You need to remember that 675 health is going on someone with around 250 armor and 155 Magic Resist so it goes a long way. Put a point in this at level 1 and try to get by without putting in another point so you can level your other skills, which are much more effective for ganking. If you have to catch up in farm, go ahead and put another point in around level 8. Max this last 100% of the time.
I truly think that this is one of the most under-appreciated support spells in the game. I laugh every time I pop it on Tristana or Vayne and watch opponents drop like flies. It is so useful when paired with Ice Blast in ganks to help you and your teammate chase and kill a low health enemy. It is absolutely perfect for tower pushing because of the attack speed boost. It is perfect for helping a teammate escape a gank or run from a lost team fight. Finally, it is a great buff to pop right before a team fight breaks out on your AD carry. Please, please, please remember that you get the buff too when you put it on someone else. I've seen many Nunu's who thought that if they blood boiled their Ashe while destroying a tower that they would not get the buff. Of course, if the buff was only for the person you clicked on you should be giving it away as much as possible anyways (thank God that's not the case, right?). Put a point in at level 2, then start catching it up with Ice Blast starting at level 8. If your team is not looking to team fight until later in the game, you can afford to max Ice Blast by level 9, then resume with Blood Boil until it's maxed at level 14.
Ice Blast has gone through an up and down history. As of the Season 2 World Championships I think it's in a good place. This is your only real nuke during a gank. Unless using it on the support is the only way to secure a kill, use it on the carry. The Attack Speed Debuff is HUGE in lowering their overall DPS. You'll want to level this ASAP so that you can lay down a world of pain when you go for the kill. In team fights, this spell 100% needs to be placed on the AD Carry. If this does not happen, you failed your job.
Nunu's ultimate is one of the most memorable and iconic ultimates in the League. It is feared on the Fields of Justice and your opponents will do all that they can to stop it as soon as possible. Remember that you can use it in the bushes and your opponent will not be able to attack you until they face check, so try to abuse this as much as possible. This build is not meant to be a carry build so the max damage is only going to be 1475, reduced by MR, on a full charge, so keep that in mind. Even though the damage is not as large as a Nunu carry build would be, your enemies will not remember this in team fights and come after you anyway (which is what we want). Let them focus you and you will mitigate much of the damage because you are so tanky and then you will regain all that life back because of Will of the Ancients. Once they are killed by your teammates you can dance on their corpses and laugh at them in all chat for focusing the tank with spell vamp. Level it at 6, 11, and 16 like 99% of the champs will do ( Poppy, I'm looking in your direction...)
So this section here is where I think this build really differentiates itself from other Nunu guides. I want to remind you all that we are building a Support/Tank champion with this guide, not an AP carry. Please don't down vote this guide because you would rather see ANOTHER AP carry Nunu guide. Try it out and then let me know what you think. Remember, your job is to buff your allies, debuff your opponents, and draw fire away from your squishies so that they can get fed off the corpses of the fallen enemies.
Always remember that this is not a set-in-stone build. Always be prepared to adjust the order of the items or just plain swap items out if you need to react to what your opponents are doing. I think I've done a good job with giving alternatives so please be flexible.
Boots of Speed, 3 Health Pots: Probably the best start for Nunu now because you will have mobility for jungle speed and ganks and plenty of sustain for your early jungle. You really don't need the pots to keep at high health if you are using Consume correctly, but they are nice to have.
Regrowth Pendant, 1 Health Pot: This would be the setup if you wanted to rush an early Philo for the gold per 10 and the regen. Probably the best way to start if you know the lanes are gonna be super passive and ganks will be difficult to pull of.
Early Foundational Items
Philosopher's Stone Philosopher's Stone: This is a really great item for you because it will help you give up your blue earlier and give you more gold income. It also turns into a great mid to late game item that I'll talk about later.
Heart of Gold : More gold, more health, and it becomes a great team fight item. Nothing to complain about here. Having 2 Gold per 10 items allows you to keep up in farm while ganking lanes. Bringing back the roaming meta for realz.
Glacial Shroud : Getting an early Shroud will help you with your mana problems, make you tankier, and give you more Ice Blast in a gank situation. So yeah, I would really recommend it unless you know you would rather build an Aegis of the Legion instead of a Frozen Heart.
Hextech Revolver : This is a GREAT item on Nunu because it combos greatly with Consume and Absolute Zero. Spell Vamp will also help you be a little more aggressive on your ganks because you can run in, Ice Blast the enemy, Blood Boil your teammate, and Consume a minion and get the additional 120 hp with a level 2 Consume when the enemy thinks they can focus you down and stop the gank.
Mercury's Treads : It is an in-game decision when you should upgrade to your tier 2 boots. If you're doing a good job ganking and catching your opponents with only your Boots of Speed, then rush the gold per 10s and the Hextech Revolver You need to learn when the right time is to do this because going for tier 2's when they are not needed will put you behind on the rest of your build. Make sure that you have your Mercury's Treads before regular team fighting begins though. AP carry Nunu builds will go with either Ionian Boots of Lucidity or Sorcerer's Shoes, but remember, we are not building an AP carry. We need the 35% tenacity and the extra magic resist like super bad. When you are in a teamfight, you need the 35 tenacity to make sure that you minimize stun and silence duration so you can continue to Blood Boil and Ice Blast as much as humanly possible. And as far as you not being focused by CC in a team fight goes, it is incredible the amount of cc that IS wasted on the initiator when they come charging in to a fight in front of their allies. Stuns, Snares, Roots, Silence, Slows, all are going to be thrown your way to stop you from getting into position to either pop your Absolute Zero or debuff their carry with Ice Blast. Finally, remember that 25 magic resist is NOT to be sneezed at, it is very good for almost all champs to have.
End Game Items
Please adjust your build order on your completed items according to your team needs, enemy team comp, and how the game is going so far. Please don't think that you must buy in this order or you're "doing it wrong". I've had games where I am able to jungle, gank, kill, and push towers so well early that on my first trip back I go straight to Will of the Ancients and Boots of Speed. If you can hard buy any late game item by the 10-12 minute mark, DO IT. I can't tell you how strong a 11 minute Will of the Ancients is in a mid-game team fight, it's kind of sick. Just make sure you at least buy your tier 1 boots or you'll be a hurting Yeti.
Frozen Heart : I swapped Frozen Heart into the main build because it does everything you need it to do. CDR, Mana, Armor, and the extra attack speed slow. Swap this out for an Aegis of the Legion if you feel like it because it fits this slot really well, although you will be missing out on 20% CDR, which is VERY good on Nunu since you only have 2 damaging spells.
Will of the Ancients : I love this item on support champions. 30 ability power and 20% spell vamp on an aura is just wonderful. It gives you a decent amount of total AP for yourself, although it is nothing compared to a Rabadon's Deathcap. Remember that we are building a Support/Tank, not an AP carry. Oh, and by the way, double WoTA is super OP for both you and your AP carry, pretty much regardless of who they are. It's most common on champs like Kennen, Rumble, or even Swain
Abyssal Scepter : Good AP and wonderful MR for you, less MR for your enemies. This works wonders for your allies as they will be getting your buff from Will of the Ancients and will hit harder on their abilities and get even more use out of the spell vamp because of the debuff on the enemy. Perfect synergy that makes you even more difficult to focus down.
Randuin's Omen : A great item with health, armor, CDR, slow on being hit, and a great active for team fights. It builds out of Heart of Gold which is a major plus for us in this build. If you are the one that needs to be buying all the wards late game, you can forgo this item to keep a slot open for wards.
shurelya's Reverie Shurelya's Reverie : This really is an incredible item for support players. Health, CDR, and Regen PLUS an incredible active ability to help your team initiate, catch up, or run away. It builds out of a Philosopher's Stone so it fits in this build perfectly.
All of these items are great items, although they do not all fit the concept of a Support/Tank. Feel out the game and make changes if needed.
Aegis of the Legion : This is a wonderful item for your team and it is probably the most gold efficient item in the game when the buff gets on all 5 allies. Help your team, help yourself, and for a very small gold amount. WINNING!
Banshee's Veil : This is a debatable MUST HAVE on this version of Nunu. I know that AP Nunu needs this to make sure they get full channel on Absolute Zero. On THIS Nunu, that is not so much of a concern because your job is to tank, initiate, and draw fire away from your buffed allies. The spell shield blocks one unfriendly spell, which can be especially useful in getting more damage from Absolute Zero. The Magic resist is very nice and it will be needed in the late game to help you tank. Be aware of champions that can easily pop your shield, like Ashe's Volley, Ryze's Overload, and Annie's Disintegrate as they will be gunning for you knowing that it will help them interrupt your channel on Absolute Zero.
Rod of Ages : Loads of HP, Mana, and AP once it's charged up to full power. If you are just dominating the early game and you have a couple kills, go ahead and build another Catalyst the Protector and rush this before your Banshee's Veil.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity : The CDR is nice and will get you to your 40% CDR cap, but they are not more important than the tenacity and MR on Mercury's Treads in my opinion.
Sorcerer's Shoes : I could see that one might want to go with these boots because of the magic penetration giving you the little extra boost of power. Again, we are NOT building an AP carry, so damage is not our priority in this guide. The MR and tenacity are too good to make sure that you are always around and doing something in a team fight, whether it is debuffing your enemy or buffing your own AD carry, you need the extra time off of all CC. A silenced or stunned support/tank does not contribute to a team fight the way they should. If you MUST have that little extra damage on your spells, then feel free, but you will be a little less tanky because of it.
Sunfire Cape : Sunfire Cape is an item I am learning to love more and more on my "middle of the action" champs. I know its glory days are well in the past, but it is still very good. Armor, health, and a damage aura are all good for you are an initiator, tank, and support.
Void Staff : The extra ability power and magic penetration would be nice if you opponents are stacking MR and just ignoring you in team fights. It's not optimal on this build because we are not building for damage, we are building for support/tank.
zeke's herald Zeke's Herald : Another great item for teams that like to auto-attack. You like health, health regen, and CDR so it is ok, I guess. Probably not a great item, but if you have a trydamere and a Vayne on your team then I could see it being beneficial.
Locket of the Iron Solari : So this would be your alternative to Randuin's Omen when it comes to upgrading you Heart of Gold. It doesn't quite make YOU tanky enough, but it surely helps your team out a ton. The 230 shield for every member of your team in a fight is great, especially coupled with the aura from Aegis of the Legion. Definitely something to think about, especially since it costs much less than Omen does.
Why Don't I Build Rabadon's Deathcap?
I have had some comments about this below so I am adding it here to clarify for everyone. Deathcap is a great item and should not be ignored by any AP Carry. But remember that we are NOT building an AP Carry. To build deathcap, you would need to drop either Aegis of the Legion, Abyssal Scepter, or Will of the Ancients and I just do not see how doing this would benefit your team as the primary tank and support buffer/debuffer.
Yes, you will be making yourself more potent offensively, but at what cost? You will be more fragile in team fights, you will not be as strong of an initiator, and you will not be able to stay around to buff your allies and debuff your enemies.
Another thing to consider is the cost of Deathcap and how it affects the rest of your build. This is a rather cheap build, which allows you the freedom to always have an oracle's elixer up and to continuously be buying wards if no one else will. If you buy Deathcap over let's say Abyssal Scepter, you are losing the chance to buy 2 Oracles and 3 Wards, which could help you win the game by controlling the map.
Your primary objective with this build is to continuously spam Blood Boil on your carry, Ice Blast on their carry, and stick around as long as possible so that you can get max benefit from the MANY auras you give out. Deathcap is definitely a top tier item, but it is not the best item for THIS BUILD.
End Game Auras and Buffs with Standard Build
For Your Allies:
+8 Damage on Aegis of the Legion
+12 armor on Aegis of the Legion
+15 Magic Resist on Aegis of the Legion
+30 Ability Power on Will of the Ancients
+20% Spell Vamp on Will of the Ancients
+15% Movement Speed on Blood Boil
+65% Attack Speed on Blood Boil
+40% Movement Speed on Shurelya's Reverie
For Your Enemies:
-20 Magic Resist on Abyssal Scepter
-35% Movement Speed for 2.5 seconds on Randuin's Omen
-35% Attack Speed for 2.5 seconds on Randuin's Omen
-60% Movement Speed for 4 seconds on Ice Blast
-25% Attack Speed for 4 seconds on Ice Blast
-??? Movement Speed and Attack Speed while channeling Absolute Zero
The Importance of Map Vision and Control
I cannot emphasize enough the need to buy and place wards as a team. I know that very few people want to "waste" their money on wards, but we need to begin a movement to teach lower level and normal queue players the value of map vision. I heard on a youtube video somewhere a great saying that I will pass on to you...
"Buy a ward, stop a gank, save a life"
Nothing in this game is more true than that little phrase. I know that you really want that 150 gold to build you next item more quickly, but it will more than pay for itself when you are able to spot a gank coming and save your bottom lane from giving up the gold from their deaths. I'll briefly outline the ways that you can control vision in the jungle because you are the PERFECT team member to lead the way in this regard.
If you get to late game and you need an item slot for wards, You can sell your Heart of Gold and buy wards in that slot. You probably won't run into this problem because you should have a support on bottom lane that will take care of late game warding, but this needs to be said anyways.
sight ward Sight Wards : These are the most simple means to gain map control. 75 gold for 4:30 of vision. Always place these in bushes to maximize their effectiveness. The only exceptions to this would be when you place a ward on Dragon, Baron, and by the entrances going to the Wraiths. Tell your teammates and train your friends to ALWAYS get a ward or two when they go back to base. If you have a constant team of five that plays together regularly and you are all buying sight wards, you will win a lot of games because you will always see more of the map than your opponents.
Vision Wards : Vision Wards are a slightly more expensive ward, 125 gold, that reveals stealthed champions, wards, and Teemo's Noxious Trap that serve only two purposes in my mind. These purposes would be to knock out your enemies ward at dragon early in the game, or to counter an Akali, Evelynn, Shaco, or Twitch that you will be laning against. Later in the game you should always have a member who buys an Oracle's Elixir, which eliminates the purpose of vision wards all together.
Wriggle's Lantern : If you have people on your team that refuse to buy wards because they don't want to "slow down their build" encourage them to buy a Wriggle's Lantern. Armor, AD, Lifesteal, extra damage to minions, and free wards every three minutes is just wonderful. If you have a consistent group of five, decide who is going to buy this every game. This item is definitely great on any right click champion like Master Yi, Olaf, Tryndamere, Warwick, or Lee Sin. Ranged carries have started taking Wriggle's Lantern in some instances, but this is not really ideal itemization.
Oracle's Elixir : You need to be the person on your team to buy Oracle's Elixir every game. You're building for tankiness and Consume + spell vamp will keep you alive for most of the game if you're playing smart, so it a good investment for you buy it. Once you have it, make regular journey's past Dragon, Baron, and into the bushes all around the river to hunt out enemy wards. This is especially easy to do if you are running around placing your own wards because you can place the ward and not have to face check the bush before you go in and knock out their ward. DO NOT NEGLECT THIS RESPONSIBILITY!
Clairvoyance : I already talked about the importance of having Clairvoyance on a member of your team so I won't go into it too much. Someone should take it and if it has to be you, make it you. Encourage your support to take it, along with Heal or Flash. If you have to take it because no one else will, spam it early on the river entrance to top lane as soon as it comes off cooldown to protect your top lane. He/She is the most vulnerable to ganks because there are fewer escapes than mid lane and they have no one to help them out like bottom does. Clairvoyance is very helpful for counter-jungling for what it's worth.
Jungling Paths for the Early Game
So Nunu is probably the most versatile jungler in the whole of the League. There are many different routes that you can take that will work. I'll outline a few of the most common routes and when they would be the most beneficial to you.
A few things you should know before you start jungling
1. You need to show your face in the lanes. It is more important that you stop a hard lane push by the opponents by either assisting or ganking a lane than it is to clear your wolf camp.
2. Ask for a leash and protection at the start of the game. Ask your mid to watch the river from the bushes, your top to watch the clear entry from the river to blue, one of your bottom laners to stay with mid, and your second bottom laner to watch for counter jungling by your wraiths or by their turret. Remind them that there is nothing to be gained from standing by your towers and the odds of your opponent face checking the brush in top or bottom is slim to none. Remind them that there is a ton to lose if the enemy team jumps an unprotected jungler at blue and steals the buff and gets first blood. Remind them that if they don't watch river and your jungle is invaded, you will fall behind in your jungle and be less able to assist them with ganks. Communication is key, teach one person these basics and eventually we will have smart laners, even in normal queue.
3. You must learn how to Smite properly. keep a piece of paper next to you that lists how much damage it does at each level until you memorize it. Always Smite or Consume to finish off blue golem, red lizard, dragon, or Baron, ALWAYS!!!
4. Know how long it takes for your buffs to come back up. Blue and Red respawn 5 minutes after the camp is cleared, call out the time it will respawn in your team chat so that everyone knows and maybe they can meet you there for a quick clear and pass-off to the person who could utilize it the best. Dragon spawns at 4 minutes and has a 6 minute respawn once killed. Baron Nashor spawns at 15 minutes and has a 7 minute respawn after it is killed. Call the respawn time out and be ahead of the game by telling the person who will receive the buff to meet you there.
5. Know when to pass off a buff and when to keep it. If you have a super fed carry in mid that uses mana, GIVE THEM BLUE and watch them run away with the game! Do you have a right click champ in bot who is in a tight race to see who wins the lane, GIVE THEM RED and win the lane! Are you dying from mana exhaustion and you need to bulk up for a gank, KEEP BLUE FOR YOURSELF! Is bot being pushed so hard that your right-clicker can't afford to leave the lane, KEEP RED FOR YOURSELF, then go murder bot lane for being over extended.
6. Get Dragon at level 6 or shortly after. Don't be an idiot and think you can solo dragon at 6 and not get caught. I've gotten away with it a lot, but that doesn't mean it was a smart move. Tell your teammates the approximate time you are going to start dragon and tell them to PUSH THEIR LANES! If mid and Bot are pushing hard, it is more likely that the jungler will go to help the lanes and not come for you. Make sure you are adequately warded so that mid especially will not get ganked while they push. Ask for help from one of the two bottom laners or, even better, have your top lane teleport to the ward you put by dragon and let them help you. Knock it out quickly and remember to call out the time when it will respawn so that your team will be ready to get it again.
This build begins with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions.
Early 4 Double Buff with Gank
Start at wolf camp and get your mid (and bot lane if purple) to auto attack the small wolves out of leeching range, which is now 400. Consume the big wolf when he is below 400 hp to get the max effectiveness from your heal. Finish the camp and go to blue.
Get a good pull on blue, have your mid leash it and your top lane, assuming blue side, or bot lane, assuming purple side do duh damages. Once it is low enough for smite, use it and level up to level 2. consume when it comes up for the heal. Level up bloodboil.
Your route should then go like this, wraiths, wolves (level 3 take consume), Red Buff (smite it), Small Golems, Wraiths (level 4 take Ice Blast), and gank mid or top.
What do I do if the gank is not there?
For the love of all that is good don't force it! If both enemies are full health and your teammates are turtled at half health, just let them be. Look to see if a gank is open at mid. If there is no possibility there either, remind your teammates that you would love to help them with a gank, but that you are not going to go on a suicide mission, especially if first blood has not yet been taken. Head up into your opponent's jungle and look to steal their wolves if there is an enemy jungler, and their blue too if they have no jungler. Once this is accomplished, head back down to your wraiths and wolves, then try to gank mid or top. If the gank is STILL not there, give your teammates a few tips on how to setup a gank and head back into your enemies jungle to steal some more creeps.
This is a very easy thing to do because Consume keeps your health so high that you can jungle forever with cloth armor and 5 Health Potions. Just make sure that at level 4 you are looking for ganks and helping your teammates as much as you can if the chance is there. Tell them where you are going to be and when so that they know.
The Counter Jungling start
This is a really good way to start if you know that your opponent is going to begin at their blue buff. If you are not confident in your teams ability to fight them at level 1, go steal their other half and you'll be way far ahead of the game. If you have someone on your team with Clairvoyance you can search for your opponents by their blue and if you find them, go counter jungle! Perfect opponents for a counter jungle are Fiddlesticks, Amumu, Warwick, and Olaf because they all desperately want an early blue buff. Be very careful about when you counter jungle Shaco or Evelynn because you can get caught very easily. If your opponent is not at their blue, take a couple teammates and go steal it!
Let's say you're jungling against an Amumu for the sake of this section. You KNOW that he will be at blue for a little bit, so you have time to wreck his red buff side. Bring your team along with you for this as it is much more common now for teams to be either warding their jungle or protecting it. Work your way into their jungle and steal the big wraith and two of the small ones so it doesn't respawn until 1 minute after the last one is killed. Then head over to the enemy's red buff and work as a team to completely clear the camp. Use your consume, not your smite unless you absolutely have to. MAKE SURE YOU TYPE THE TIMER IN THE CHAT BOX, this is so you know when it will be back up so you can go steal it again.
Next, get a leash at your blue from your support champ and take out the blue buff. You might have hit level 2 during the invade but it depends on how many of your allies were sharing the xp. Use your consume and smite to secure the buff. Congrats, you now are double buffed. If you are still only level 2, go clear your wolves and get level 3. This is where you would decide if you should gank or not. I would encourage you to do so, but if it's not there, continue farming your jungle. Communication with your team is KEY
Blue to Level 2 Ganks
This path is very similar to the early 4 with double buff. Start at wolves and get help clearing them. Go get Blue with some help and then find a place to gank at level 2. The difference here is that you will 100% take Ice Blast instead of bloodboil. This is best accomplished if the lane your ganking has a hard cc that they could take at level 1 and not gimp their laning phase too hard becasue they will still be level 1 when you get their lane to gank. I'd say the best teammates to do this would be like Taric, Morganna, Lux, Sion, Kennen, Cho'Gath, Alistar, or Blitz. This is also usually the best strategy if you are on the purple team because you can go from blue through the enemy tri-brush and get a good 3v2, which should work out in your favor.
Red to Level 2 Ganks
Same as blue start except you will start at wraiths and then go to Red Buff and gank with that. Not as good level 2 with Blue buff because Nunu loves the CDR from blue buff.
What do Enemy Junglers Bring to the Table?
In this section I will outline the different challenges that you will face with some of the most common enemy junglers.
Amumu : Amumu is so easy to counter jungle it is sick. You know for a fact that he is going to start at blue buff because a jungle Amumu without blue buff is useless. Go steal his Small Golems and his big Wraith and laugh as he is way gimped early game. Try not to engage him directly, but do all you can to ward his jungle and steal his buffs when you get the chance. The same is 100% true for Fiddlesticks, who I won't waste space in this section because it would be an identical strategy as playing versus Amumu. Invade and conquer my friend!
Cho'Gath : Cho is a really fast jungler who can do some great early damage on you with Vorpal Spikes and his combo of moves. Probably not someone to go toe to toe with. His ganks are pretty weak if he is bad at landing his Rupture. I would try to ward his jungle and run in a Consume his big wraith as often as I can. He's a farming machine.
Dr. Mundo : Mundo is a unique and super fast jungler in this new jungle. Invade and steal his red and you'll put him pretty far behind. Mundo's ganks are terrible, but his dueling is very good because of Burning Agony and Masochism.
Evelynn : I hate to jungle when the enemy has an Evelynn on their team. If you find yourself up against a jungle Evelynn, you MUST jungle at full health or risk getting ganked. I get so mad when I play Olaf, who is my main jungler, and I see an eve on the other team because I know that at one time or another I'm gonna get assassinated. Keep in mind though that Evelynn jungles at ridiculously low health, maybe worse than Olaf, so she is very susceptible to being jumps at a camp. A friend of mine jungles Evelynn and he said that his typical path is Blue Buff (where she almost dies), Wolves, Recall, Red Buff (where she gets low again), and lanes to gank. If you can catch her at red, you can not only double buff yourself, but probably save a teammate's life by making sure the gank never comes. Evelynn is also an incredible roamer so if she is doing this, you must remind your lanes to call mia on Eve immediately upon her disappearance for more than 4 seconds, even if this means spamming "eve mia" and "re" for the first 15 minutes of the game.
Lee Sin : Lee Sin can either be a formidable foe or a fool. A good Lee Sin will come into your jungle early looking for a fight. If he knows that you're starting at your Blue Buff because his team is adequately protecting his jungle, he should be looking to jump you at your Wraiths. What better time to invade a Nunu jungle than when he is level 2 and only has Consume and Blood Boil? He should sit in the bush by the Wraiths and wait for you to Consume the big one before he dashes in and lays the hammer down. Just be aware that this is a possibility and be ready to run, or maybe you could try to take Ice Blast at level 2 versus a Lee Sin. Either this or go steal his big Wraith after you get your Blue Buff , then head back down to your Wolves.
Malphite : I love Malphite in the new jungle. He clears so fast now and his ganks at 6 are incredible. He doesn't do a ton of damage in duels, but neither do you. Try to counter jungle him the best you can and make sure your lanes are warded or else he will jump on them and they will die. Malphite plays very similar to Nunu so that means if you like Nunu, try Malphite out. His initiation is better, but his buff control and support is not as good.
Maokai : So I love Maokai in the jungle. He pretty much does everything that Nunu does, trading team fight damage for more CC. He clears jungle faster than you, doesn't everyone nowadays, and he ganks harder because of Twisted Advance. The difference between you two is that you have much more damage in a teamfight if you factor in Absolute Zero and the extra damage your AD Carry will do with Blood Boil. Both of you are looking to do the same thing in the jungle, gank and counter jungle. So how do we stop Maokai from being the better support jungler? WARD ALL THE THINGS!!!
Master Yi : Master Yi is a champ that I believe you can jump and kill very easily at level 2 when he comes for his Wraiths. In order to do this you will need to deviate from the path above and take Ice Blast instead of Blood Boil at level 2. Master Yi will either start his jungle at his Blue Buff or at Small Golems, so you could just run in and take his Wraiths. This is most easily done if you have a champion who can start with an aoe damage spell, like Swain, Brand, Galio, or Gragas.
Nocturne : Nocturne is a nasty 1v1 champion. His Shroud of Darkness can nullify your Ice Blast if he times it right, he has a nasty disable in Unspeakable Horror, and a nice nuke with bonus attack damage and movement speed in Duskbringer. Play safe and counter jungle when you can. The more you counter jungle and protect your own side, the longer it will take for Nocturne to hit level 6. Nocturne's gank at level 6 is FILTHY because that is when he gets his Paranoia.
Nunu : So you're in normal queue and a smite toting Nunu is staring at you as if to say, "Let's see who the better Nunu is". This is always a fun challenge that I enjoy running up against. Who will win this fight? I can tell you that the winner will be determined 100% by who wards their jungle and punishes intrusion better. Ward your Red Buff, ward your Blue Buff, ward your additional entrances to the jungle and call for help to murder that trespasser when he comes to counter jungle you.
Olaf : I love Olaf. He was the first champ I ever played and he is still my main to this day. His jungle is sickeningly fast, but it is super dangerous. If you want to stop an Olaf and win the jungle, go directly to his golems, get level 2 and level Ice Blast, and wait in the bushes next to Red Buff for him to come. He will arrive somewhere around 3:10 if he's going for a super fast level 4 route. When he shows up he will start to fight at a little over half health and he will get dangerously low in his battle versus red. All you need to do is wait for him to get low enough, Ice Blast him in the face, consume Red to get the buff, and finish him off. Easy like a Sunday morning.
Rammus : Rammus is another jungler that is easily dominated by an aggressive counter jungler. Take my counter jungle route and watch him get starved for XP like a boss. If Rammus is falling behind in levels his ganks are nowhere near as nasty as they are when he has free reign to sustain his jungle.
Sejuani : Sejuani and Nunu have a lot in common in the jungle. Both have relatively low damage output, both rely heavily on slows, and both fall into a support tank role late game. Sejuani clears jungle a little faster, but Nunu's overall utility I think is greater. Yes Sejuani has the AoE ult stun, but after that, she is relatively lame in team fights. Nunu can disrupt an entire fight with his ult, all the while have bloodboil on the ad carry who is destroying all the things. Early game you don't need to really worry about her invading all that much because her damage is so bad.
Shaco : Shaco is super squishy, but that does not mean that you can just walk into his jungle and counter him. One wrong move and you are popped by some Jack In The Boxes and you're finished. These crazy Shaco players will either start at Red Buff and gank at level 2, or they will start at Blue Buff and sustain their jungle. My best advice would be to Clairvoyance blue buff around 1:30 and if he is there, go counter jungle his Red Buff side. If he is NOT there, get your bottom lane to go with you to steal his Blue and make sure you tell your lanes to be super careful because Shaco is coming for them ASAP.
Shyvana : She farms better than you, she invades better than you, and she will kill you if she finds you in the jungle. This is a real bad matchup for Nunu. I would really think twice about picking Nunu vs. Shyvanna. That being said, you must gank and get kills because no matter what, she is going to get ahead of you in farm and gold. You must make up the difference by putting your lanes ahead.
Trundle : Trundle is a lot like Lee Sin in that he is not someone you want to meet face to face in the jungle. The difference between Trundle and Lee Sin is that stupid Pillar of Filth. If a trundle wants to come for you, he will Rabid Bite and steal your attack damage, then Pillar of Filth and trap you so you can't get away. Do you know what a level 2 Nunu with no Ice Blast, trapped by a pillar, slowed, and with less damage will do to a Trundle? Nothing,the answer is nothing... Be afraid and very careful when you jungle against a Troll.
Udyr : I don't see as many Udyr players as I used to, but he is still VERY good. He clears camps very fast, can duel incredibly well, and is super tanky. You are not going to be able to duel him if you get caught in his jungle, but you should easily be able to Blood Boil and Ice Blast to get away fairly easily. In team fights, you can peel for your AD carry with ice blast and keep them from getting stunned by Bear Stance. keep in mind thought that Udyr is very efficient at stopping Absolute Zero because of bear stance.
Warwick : I love to jungle against Warwick because I know that it is going to be a safe and easy jungle for me. I know he is not coming after me and I know that I can counter jungle him pretty easy and gimp his early game. Clairvoyance his Blue Buff and make sure you can see the bushes on the other side by the river. If they are not there, he is at Small Golems. If he's at Small Golems, go steal his Blue. If he is at his Blue Buff, go follow my counter jungle path. If he is gimped at getting to level 6, his ganking takes a huge hit because your mid lane will be at level 8 by the time he hits 6 and that ult is much less scary. Just remember that Warwick jungles at almost full health so you might be wise to do the same and not engage him when you are in less than optimal condition.
Xin Zhao : So Xin has become much more popular in the jungle and I have to tell you, he is a beast. I see him the same way I see Nocturne. You need to counter jungle him to slow down his run to level 6, where he is a crazy ganker. You need to be very careful though because he is another incredible 1v1 champ. Ward his jungle with the help of your teammates and invade when it is safe. When it comes to the late game, you can really help your team by using Ice Blast on him, if the AD carry is out of range, and with your Frozen Heart. In fact, if I was going up against a Xin, I may skip Aegis altogether and go for an early Frozen Heart. Maybe swap out Aegis for Rod of Ages, Sunfire Cape, or Randuin's Omen. Xin is pretty scary, man...
Mid Game Mindset
Alright so the timing of the shift from early game to mid game is very nebulous. Some people would say that mid game begins when the first tower falls. Some people would say that mid game happens the first time dragon is taken. Still others say that the first 5v5 fight is the beginning of the mid game. No matter when you call mid game on, your job remains the same. In this section we will outline the goals you are trying to accomplish during this time.
Objective Number 1: Gank and Push Towers
You should be ganking as much as you can at this point in the game, especially if the lane is occupied by someone who has managed to farm an Infinity Edge. Ice Blast in, Blood Boil said AD carry and melt the opposition. Once the obstacle is out of the way, push the tower. Keep Blood Boil up and you will decimate towers very quickly.
Objective Number 2: Brainwash Your Teammates into Warding the Map
I mentioned this before, but if your team is warding the map and their team is not, it's GG. You'll know where they are, where they are going, where to push, where to gank, and when to take major objectives. If only my solo queue mates would submit to my mental manipulations and do this I could have a much higher ELO, and so can you.
Objective Number 3: Keep Your Carry Close, and Your Enemies Terrified
In team fights, you have an obligation to Blood Boil your AD carry as much as humanly possible and to attract attention to yourself. Getting Blood Boil on a fed and well protected Tryndamere, Corki, Miss Fortune, or any other high damage, high attack speed champ will win the team fight every time, even if it means you have to sacrifice yourself. Always Ice Blast their highest DPS because you must remember that it carries an attack speed debuff and not just a massive slow. If a team has an Ashe, Tristana, Vayne, Master Yi, or Olaf make sure you focus them with your Ice Blast. Also, please prioritize ranged AD carries over their melee counterparts because many melee attack speed champs have a means to shake off CC like Highlander, Ragnarok, or Cleanse. Melee heroes are also much more likely to have taken Mercury's Treads than your typical ranged AD carry. Also, make sure to pop your Absolute Zero to attract attention away from your teammates as well.
Objective Number 4: Keep your Jungle Cleared and Continue to Counter Jungle
It is very important that you continue to farm and complete map objectives as efficiently as possible. Do not give anything away to your opponents, that even includes your Wolves 18 minutes into the game. You want to allow your carries to get as much of the farm in the lanes as possible so that they get their items and can faceroll when a team fight breaks out. You definitely do not want to be left in the dust, so the solution is to farm your jungle when you are not ganking and make sure you are efficiently getting and passing off the buffs as soon as they respawn.
The last part is very critical and can easily be the thing that wins or loses a game. Get your buffs in the hands of the person that can most effectively use them. I'll briefly list the champs that I think can most effectively use a Blue and/or Red Buff. Almost all champs can use them, but some just shine like a boss and carry to the Nexus...
Great Blue Buff Recipients
Anivia : This allows her to spam Glacial Storm and just push like no one else in the game can.
Kassadin : If Kassadin doesn't have blue buff, he is going to be in real trouble after level 6. His assassin-ness is directly tied to his ability to flash with his ult as much as possible.
Karthus : So you're telling me that I can spam Lay Waste as much as I want, toggle on Defile when they come close, and still have enough mana around to cast Requiem before I die? 100% win.
Swain : I think I see a little bit of a pattern developing as this is another toggle ult champion. Swain can do incredible burst damage with all his abilities and the more he can keep Ravenous Flock active, the better off the team will be.
Any other AP Carry would be WONDERFUL with a blue buff because of the endless mana and CDR. It would just be WAY too long of a list to put them all here. Please give this buff away as much as possible and watch your team run away with the game.
Great Red Buff Recipients
Red Buff is much more straight forward in terms of who you want to give Red Buff to.
Late Game Finishing
At this point in the game you should be staying with your teammates and looking for out of position enemies to pick off to create advantageous team fighting scenarios. There are a few things that you need to remember at this point in the game if you want to finish strong.
#1: You are NOT a solo split pusher
There has got to be a champion on your team that can solo split push better than you. If there is not, then you probably are not in a good position at this point in the game. If you and Master Yi want to go together and split push top while your other three pressure bot, go for it. Any high damage, high attack speed champion can split push like a boss when they are getting Blood Boiled by you. Just make sure that you don't push your luck because you know that three or more of them will eventually come for you and it might not end well for you two.
#2: Do Your Job in Team Fights
Remember that you have itemized to tank and support, so do your job. I know that their AD carry is trying to run away with 100 HP, it is not your job to chase them. Stay with your team and finish off the other 4 and get that last one later. If you leave your team to chase, you are robbing the fight of all the aura buffs you have built and you're allowing the enemy to get away from the debuffs you carry. Would you rather go 3 to 3 in a team fight and get their carry, or go 4 to 1 and not get their carry? This should be a pretty simple answer to any logical player. Once you finish the fight, go get Baron, Dragon, all the buffs, and blue pill to buy more stuff. You'll be in such better shape for the next team fight it is not even funny.
#3: Oracle's Elixir is a Must Have
I've already laid out the importance of having an Oracle's Elixir above, but if you don't have one on your team at this point, you are asking to get aced. Make it your responsibility to carry the Oracle's, with the exception being if you have a Soraka or Janna on your team because they are good carriers of the pink eye as well. Make sure you are hunting for wards all around Baron so that you can get in position to take it. Which leads us to the next point...
#4: Take Baron if the Opportunity Arises
Don't push it if it is not there, but don't ignore it if you have the chance to get it. If you get an inhibitor down, push the wave and go for Baron after you clear the enemy jungle and place some wards. If three people are pushing bot and one person can hold tower effectively, go pressure Baron. If you ace the other team (or only get 4 of them) and the situation isn't looking too good for a push, go get Baron. A well timed and orchestrated Baron will solidify the win. Please make sure you smite/consume him so it doesn't get stolen because that will give you a sadface.
#5: Don't Forget Map Objectives
I know I just talked about Baron, but I need to remind you about the rest of the map. Just because two inhibitors are down does not mean the game is over. Take the Buffs and get Dragon because you never know what is going to happen until you see the /ff or the nexus explode. Don't let up and don't mess around, get stuff done and end the game.
#6: Punch the Nexus
When the opportunity arises, run up to the Nexus and punch it like so hard. Don't stop punching it until it explodes. When you see it explode, you know that you have punched it really, really, really hard. So hard in fact that the opposing champions will no longer want to fight you. Congrats, you have just won the game.
Thank you for reading the comprehensive guide to jungling a support/tank Nunu. I hope you learned a lot and that I can help you grow as a jungler. I am no pro, but I think my logic, tactics, and strategy is sound. Please comment below and let me know what you think and how you fared with the build. Give me feedback on how I can present all this text in a better way. Also, please recommend sections that are not currently in the table of contents and I will put out my thoughts. Remember that this build exists to allow your allies to shine and to be the leader as you stomp towards their Nexus. Unselfish play will win you games all day long. Have a great day!