Build Guide by saberwolf13
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.
Welcome to my Nunu AP build guide. I've been looking at a lot of guides lately with AP in their name, and while a lot of them are really impressive builds, I've always been disappointed with how low some of these AP builds actually are. Now I know 300 AP (what I see in most builds) is nothing to sneeze at, but it can always be higher in my opinion. Most players rationalize this by saying that if you put it too high, you are neglecting other key areas of your champion such as armor, attack speed, etc. While this may be true, I have found a way to have insanely high AP, while at the same time not neglecting the other aspects of your champion.
Now before I get started, I have to let you know a few things:
The build is interchangeable to a degree and it also depends on what characters you are facing. Sometimes it makes more sense to get Mercury Treads or Sorcerer's Shoes for example, but for the sake of this build, 90% of the time I take the items I have listed in this guide.
I am a huge fan of hit and run tactics and usually don't get into toe-to-toe fights unless I'm reasonably confident that I will come out the victor. This build compliments those that don't like to jump into scraps, while still managing the most kills/assists during the game. That being said however, this build can still scrap it amongst the rest, I just choose not to.
3.) This build is for a level 30
but I myself at the present moment am only level 20. The stats of this build will be off from what I play with, but the same strategy still applies.
The stats above calculated by the site are incorrect. For example, it says that AP will only end up in the 500s. That is a lie. It will be over 800 by the end of the build.
5.) 75% of all your games
you will win before you get a chance to even finish the archangel's staff.
With that out of the way...let's begin.
Pros and Cons
As with any build, there are advantages and disadvantages to using such a character. Let's look into the pros and cons of this one:
Does MASSIVE amounts of damage
Good at dealing damage while receiving minimal damage in return
Can potentially kill all enemies at once
Almost never needs to leave the lane
Excellent CC with Ice Blast
Possesses the ability to destroy turrets without the help of allies or minions
High AP without too much sacrifice from other areas of the build
Can hold its own defensively in a 2v1 situation
Makes an excellent ganker
Never run out of mana at endgame
Can hold its own offensively in a 2v1 situation, but it's difficult, especially begingame
Has little magic penetration
Has no protection against status effects
You'll find yourself short on mana every now and then until level 6
Won't be winning many toe-to-toe fights 1v1 without any mana
Buy items in parts and work your way up
Swap items with Malady or Abyssal Scepter
Swap items with Banshee's Veil
Lane swap a lot, and by this I mean farm in one lane, drive the opponent back/kill him, then head to another lane to gank the guy that's got your ally stuck at his turret, then go back to your lane..it's the best way for you to grab gold
Not a whole lot you can do about running out of mana, just tough it out and keep your distance for 90 seconds by the time you used up the mana from clarity
Because the primary point of this build is to have insane amounts of AP, the runes will all be AP based. You will need:
9x Greater Seals of Force
9x Greater Glyphs of Force
3x Greater Quintessences of Force
This gives you an additional 83 AP by level 18, saving you the equivalent of a Needlessly Large Rod (1600 gold for 80 AP)
For masteries I chose 21 in Utilities and 9 in Offense.
Utilities = 21:
Good Hands: I maxed this out at 3 ranks. 10% less time dead may not seem like much, but during the endgame, those 5-6 seconds could mean the difference between saving your base and defeat. You shouldn't be dying much, but this is a good asset for the times you do.
Perseverance: Maxed this out at 3 ranks as well. The 4% increase to my health and mana regen is pathetically low, but I had to put the points somewhere.
Meditation: Also maxed this out at 3 ranks. It provides an additional 3 mana regen per 5 seconds. Every little bit helps.
Insight: Maxed out at 1 rank. Provides nearby allies mana recovery equal to the amount I recover using clarity. Works great as a team aid tool when in team fights.
Quickness: Maxed out at 3 ranks. An additional 3% increase in movement speed can mean a lot in a build that requires a lot of running.
Intelligence: Maxed out at 3 ranks. Cooldown reduction of 6% = awesomesauce. (combined with Sorcery and Presence of the Master and you're looking at 9%/24% cooldown reductions)
Presence of the Master: Maxed out at 1 rank. 15% less time waiting for hp or mana heal...what's not to like?
Offense = 9:
Deadliness: Put 1 point here. It's just for filler, best spent here than Cripple or Plentiful Bounty.
Archmage's Savvy: Maxed out at 3 ranks. Having an additional (0.6*18=10.8) AP is great for the build. Add that to the 83 AP from the runes, and now you have more than 2000 gold's worth of AP, and that's 2000 gold you didn't have to spend.
Sorcery:: Maxed out at 4 ranks. Provides an additional 3% cooldown reduction. Every little bit helps when you rely on your skills and spells.
Archaic Knowledge: Provides magic penetration equal to 15% of the opponents magic resistance. Given that this build doesn't focus on magic penetration, it is a good thing to have.
As a hit and run build, there are only two spells you need to concern yourself with.
This is the first spell you should have. Yes, it does seem slightly redundant when you have the Consume ability, but there will be times when you aren't fighting near any enemy minions, or when needing that extra health while fleeing becomes absolutely necessary. Even if you don't always need it, being a good teammate and using it near a hurt ally can help turn the tide of battle. This spell will be mainly used while you are level 1, fleeing, or ganking someone in your own zone.
As an AP build, this spell is a must. Clarity makes sure you can maintain your hit and run playstyle, as Ice Blast is your main spell of attack. Making sure you have extra mana on hand allows you to stay in lanes longer, and dominate the field when the opponent runs dry. It becomes slightly less useful near the higher levels due to your champion having high levels of mana and mana regen, but I cannot stress how essential this spell is to a build relying on spells.
Spells you can use in replace of heal if you wish:
Because this build is good at holding lanes, this spell can be good if you need to make an emergency trip back to a turret that's taking damage. Having the power to dish out some hurt under the protection of your turret in a pinch to some unsuspecting attackers works well, and even if you don't kill them, you'll at least have them running away.
This can be used for the same reasons as Teleport. You can also use it to quickly join your teammates in a fight or to flee the scene to avoid being killed. I discourage using it as a means to get to a fight however, unless you are ganking or ganging up on an enemy. The whole point of this build is to not get too close unless necessary.
This is good for scouting the map and being wary of incoming ganks and such. While it can be useful in some situations, I find that keeping an eye on the map, while using common sense, will let you predict where they will be most of the time.
You shouldn't be dying much as it is, but for the rare time you do, this makes an excellent spell to get you back in the fight.
As your champion really doesn't have any protection against status effects, this could be a good choice.
Spells you should never use:
This is meant for physical damage dealers. You're AP and specialize in hit and run tactics. Enough said.
Your spells will be doing MASSIVE amounts of damage as it is. Not only does the damage of Ignite seem insignificant in comparison, but the enemy should be slowed to the point where using Ignite would just be an insult.
Unless you are jungling (which should be almost never), taking this is pointless.
This is pointless when you have a skill that lets you do the same thing with only a 5 second cooldown.
The extra speed is completely unnecessary when Ice Blast makes your opponents move at a snails pace anyways, whether your chasing or fleeing.
It can be ok, but there are better spells out there to use. Let a teammate take this instead. As a lane pusher, you should be all you need to keep a turret safe anyways.
(Innate): After 7 attacks, Nunu's next spell has no cost.
I love this ability, as it helps you save a lot of mana in the long run. This is so helpful in the early stages of the game, as that mana saved is part of the process in outlasting your opponent in a lane.
(Active): The Yeti takes a bite out of target enemy minion, dealing heavy damage to it and restoring his own health.
This is such a lifesaver ability right here, and so essential for extended time on the lanes. There is nothing more demoralizing to your opponent than to see his hard earned attacks on you wiped away with a single Consume. Despite being very useful, it doesn't get maxed out until late in the game, and only because you can't push a lane by being a good healer. Sure, you'll never run out of health, but neither will your opponent when your attacks are lacking in power. A couple points is all this ability needs until late into midgame. Once Ice Blast is maxed out though, this will be the next one to max out. It can be very useful for toe-to-toe fights, as long as you make sure you fight near a pile of enemy minions. There's nothing better than both getting really low in health, only for you to heal to full with a Consume, and following up with an Ice Blast for the win. Sometimes you don't even need to use it as a healer, as it can quicken up the process of clearing out minion swarms.
(Active): Invigorates an allied unit by heating their blood, increasing their attack speed and movement speed for 15 seconds. If cast on an ally, Nunu also gains the effect of Bloodboil.
This is really a jack-of-all-trades ability right here. While it is really not needed in the begingame or the midgame, it becomes very useful in multiple ways in the endgame. You can use it to get to a location faster, use it to flee a scene, catch up to a player you hit with an Ice Blast, attacking a building, etc. There are endless ways to incorporate this ability into your strategy. The important thing to remember is that you receive the effects when cast on an ally, so always give it to your teammate if you happen to be running or fighting together.
(Active): Nunu throws a ball of ice at an enemy unit, dealing magic damage and slowing their movement speed by a percentage and attack speed by 25% for 4 seconds.
This is the ability you will be using 80% of the time, as it will be your main form of attack. This ability is everything you could need in just one attack. Tons of damage while slowing the enemy, and has a very fast cooldown of 5 seconds by the time it is maxed out. The best part of this ability is that it is a ranged attack. This is essential to your hit and run tactics, to make sure you deal out the most damage possible, while at the same time, reducing the amount of damage that can be dealt to you. One of the best ways to use this is to gank an enemy that's fighting your allies in another lane from behind, hit him with an Ice Blast, and enjoy the smackdown the three of you send upon him as he is too slow to run away to safety.
(Active): Nunu begins to sap the area of heat, slowing all nearby enemies movement speed by 41.2% and attack speed by 25%. After 3 seconds, he deals massive damage to all enemies caught in the area. Can be cancelled for less damage.
One word to describe this: OWNAGE. You prob won't be using this often, but when you do, it packs a punch. This is so useful in group fights, and you are most likely able to take out all of the opponents by yourself, or at the very least leave them weak enough for everyone else to pick off.
Let's do the math
Here's the kind of stats you'll really be looking at with a fully built level 18:
94 AP (runes + masteries) + 80 AP (Lich Bane) + 155 AP (Rabadon's Deathcap) + 45 AP (Archangel's Staff) + 75 AP (Morello's Evil Tome) + 100 AP (Zhonya's Hourglass) + 82 AP (3% of total mana via Archangel's Staff) = 631 AP * 1.3 (Rabadon's Deathcap) = 820 AP
Consume: 900 true damage, healing for 345 + (1*820) = 1165 hp
Blood Boil: Dependent on the build, but not really important
Ice Blast: 275 + (1*820) = 1095 damage
Absolute Zero: 1125 + (2.5*820) = 3175 damage
Let's compare these to a typical 300 AP build:
Consume: 900 true damage, heal for 645 hp
Blood Boil: Dependent on the build
Ice Blast: 275 + 300 = 575 damage
Absolute Zero: 1125 + 750 = 1875 damage
As you can see, there is a massive increase in the damage output, most of the time of which will be enough to take out most enemies in the blink of an eye, all at the same time barely sacrificing anywhere else in the character build.
In this section I intend to explain my ability order, and hopefully answer the questions you might have.
For the very first level I take Ice Blast. I take this because it fits perfectly with the phrase, "hit and run", and I am more concerned about dealing damage to champions than I am to minions. It is a great beginning damage dealer, and awesome lane pusher, not to mention the fact that it slows down your opponents movement and attack. I get tons of first kills using this before the minions even start spawning.
For level 2, Consume is a must. Ice blast does a good job of chipping down the opponent, but they are bound to get a couple good shots on you too, and the point of this build is lane dominance. By the time you're level two, your opponent (and possibly you), are both low on health and still fighting for the lane. Having the ability to heal yourself gives you an incredible edge, and will result in either you getting the kill, or the opponent fleeing to heal while you farm away.
Levels 3-5, I invest two more points in Ice Blast, and one more into Consume, maintaining the same strategy of hit and run, outlast your opponent in health.
Level 6, get Absolute Zero, for obvious reasons.
At level 7 or 8, it becomes necessary to get Blood Boil to help you farm better and/or to flee better during your hit and runs.
From here on out I max them out in the order of Ice Blast, Consume, Absolute Zero, and Blood Boil. Ice Blast is your bread and butter,dealing incredible damage, while Consume is your survivability tool. Absolute Zero is upgraded whenever possible, while Blood Boil takes a back seat until later game.
You take one look at this guys setup and you'll notice something right away. IT IS EXPENSIVE!
Do not fear! While it will take a heavy purse to pay for it all, this build is guaranteed to net you the gold you need to make such purchases. Here is a rough outline of what you'll be getting and when:
Level 1: Boots of Speed. That's it. No potion buying like every other build...save that money for something useful! With hit and run tactics, you won't be needing potions. Yes, I know that 125 gold is only a drop in the bucket in the long run, but in the short run I prefer to save it for the next important item.
Level 6: This should probably be the first time you need to return back to base, and mostly simply just to spend your gold. Upgrade those boots to Berserker's Greaves. You should also have enough to buy most of the next item. I usually get Sheen and Null-Magic Mantle first.
Level 11: Time to go back and spend some gold. By now you can buy the rest of the Lich Bane and the Blasting Wand needed for Rabadon's Deathcap.
Level 13: Go back and buy Needlessly Large Rod.
Level 15: Base time once again. Buy Rabadon's Deathcap. By now your AP is 305, which is what most AP builds stop at. Depending on your luck you may be able to buy another Blasting Wand.
Level 18: Buy the Archangel's Staff. From here on out, the rest depends on how long the game drags out, although it is possible to have more than this by level 18. This guide is based on assumption that you don't get too many kills. More kills and assists obviously leads to quicker progression. Once you get used to the build, you'll find it easier to get scores, making the item purchases much quicker. From here you still need to buy Morello's Evil Tome and Zhonya's Hourglass.
Sometimes, different situations ask for different items. Here is what I suggest if you need to change the build to suit the situation:
Help! I'm constantly being harassed by champions with status effects!
Swap the Berserker's Greaves for Mercury's Treads and the Morello's Evil Tome for a Banshee's Veil
My opponents have equipped nothing but magic resist, what do I do?
Swap the Berserker's Greaves for Sorcerer's Shoes and the Morello's Evil Tome for a Malady
My opponents are all heavy DPS, and they hurt! What do I do?
Nothing. That means they probably sacrificed on magic resist. Hit and run should beat them everytime. If necessary though, swap an item for Thornmail.
My Ice Blast slows them, but they still get away! What do I do?
If they've put that much into movement speed, get a Rylai's Crystal Scepter. With that, every Ice Blast reduces their speed by 95%.
Your build doesn't give enough AP! How can I get more?
If you are really not concerned about lacking in certain areas of your build, I recommend Sorcerer's Shoes, Archangel's Staff x4 and Rabadon's Deathcap. 1200 AP right there.
I'm currently 0/12/2 and I think the other team hacks!
This build is clearly not for you, or else less QQ, more practicing.
How to Jungle
YOU DON'T! YOU NEVER JUNGLE WITH THIS BUILD! IF I CATCH YOU JUNGLING WITH THIS BUILD I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND...*cough*, I mean, you will never jungle with this build. The only exception would be for the golem, the dragon, and Baron, but otherwise you should be on a lane at all times, unless you are ganking.
How to use Nunu solo
This is my preferred way of playing, as Nunu excels best when he's playing in a solo lane. To be a pusher, especially using hit and run tactics, it usually works best when there's fewer people around to harass. Let's go through the different stages of the game:
Run into the middle of the minion battles, last hitting any minions you can. If an opponent comes near, throw an Ice Blast and back off slightly. If he retreats, go back into the minion fray. If he insists on sticking around, hang back just far enough to still get experience from minion kills while waiting for Ice Blast to recharge. Do this as much as needed. Eventually you'll get Consume, which will allow you to Ice Blast, swipe the enemy a couple of times, Consume the nearest minion to heal, and then retreat. Level up Ice Blast as soon as you can, followed by Consume. Use Heal spell for any desperate runs back to your turret/base, and clarity anytime you run low on mana. The goal is to kill your opponent a couple times, or else push him back to base long enough to take out a turret. If at any point you ice blast him and you have much more health than him, feel free to chase him down for the kill.
Same strategy applies here as was the begingame. The only real difference now is you'll be hitting for more of their health. This means they'll be running back to base more often. This gives you opportunities to travel through the map and gank that 2v2 fight you've been watching go on on the minimap. Ice Blast the nearest or the weakest depending on the circumstances, then gang up on the last one and take him out. When finished, return back to your lane to take care of the third as he should be returning by now.
The solo aspect is now limited. At this point, your opponents will travel in a pack or try to set up ganks to catch you off guard. While I did say soloing this late in the game is limited, it is still entirely possible. The secret is to spend 80% of your time watching the minimap, and 20% watching your character. Wait until you see 2 or 3 of them show up in one of the lanes, then go to a lane they are not and farm away. By this point you will have Blood Boil and Consume both pretty high, making farming quickly much easier. Remember that Lich's Bane allows you to add your AP to your next attack when using an ability, so attack the superminion first after using Blood Boil. When you see the enemy dissapear off the minimap, it's a good sign they're coming to gank you. Head your way to their lane (closer to your zone), and farm there and laugh as you see them appear where you used to be. Do as often as needed. Make the occasional towerdive to make this happen more often, if you are good at timing and predicting when they will show up. If you're not busy farming, you'll spend the rest of the time ganking whenever possible. Use your teammates as bait, and come in from behind to lay down the pain.
How to use Nunu in a team
If you are sharing a lane with someone, odds are you'll be facing against two people. Hit and run tactics still work, but you have to be a lot more choosy about your opportunities.
Try to keep to the grass at the very beginning. The plan here is to get them to wander just a little too close so that you can Ice Blast them at close range. Once slowed, you and your partner can proceed to pound him into submission. You can only do it every now and then however, as once you've done it, they'll be expecting it. Use it at random times throughout the game to throw them off. Otherwise, you're using hit and run tactics, but dividing the pain among two players instead of one. Hopefully you have a good partner to help you out, otherwise it's just simply gonna take twice as long to push (using up mana faster), making your build harder to obtain at the usual speed. Don't expect to do more than chip their turret down a bit unless the people you are facing aren't very good.
You now have your Absolute Zero spell, and it's time to put it to use! Use it to push your way along the lane along with Ice Blast. At this point you will see a change in the pushing momentum, as you break the turret and the one after that with ease. Killing opponents will be easier, as will making them retreat.
Let your teammate(s) take the lead when possible if the possibility of ganks is probable. Try to setup your own counterganks by going well out of the way to avoid everyone and circle around. When the enemy is visible, close in for the Ice Blast and let your teammates finish them off. If team vs team fights break out, give it a couple of seconds, then wade into the middle and unleash the fury with Absolute Zero. If it doesn't outright kill them, a followup with Ice Blast and a chase down will make sure they're dead. Try to fight them with enemy minions close by to keep health up with consume. If in a bind, run into the jungle and Consume a random neutral monster. Always make sure to have Blood Boil going at all times.
If your teammate is ranged/mage
Take the lead and hit the enemy with an Ice Blast and retreat. Then let the ally close in for their own ranged attacks. Leapfrog your way to either killing him or driving him off. A Nunu Ice Blast + Ashe Cold Arrow is a deadly combination.
If your teammate is melee
Hit the enemy with Ice Blast and let the ally chase after. Depending on the situation, you can either join him in the chase down or stay behind and farm on the minions.
If your teammate has status effects
Close in and use Absolute Zero, then have your ally stun, fear, or taunt them into staying within the range. Otherwise, have them stun first, then let you use Ice Blast to make sure that they don't go anywhere soon while you two finish them off. Veigar is my favourite for this with his Event Horizon. Fiddlestick's Fear ability works well for this as well.
Useful Scenario Strategies
Defending a turret: Stand in front of it and throw an Ice Blast at any champion who dares to come close, then retreat behind the turret while you wait for the cooldown. If minions get too close, Blood Boil and Consume will do the job quickly.
Attacking a turret: This scenario is interesting because it itself can be divided into 3 parts:
a) Attacking with a team - Operation Clear the Area: Cast Blood Boil on an ally. Run straight up to the turret and use Absolute Zero. While any nearby enemy champions run away out of range, have your allies pummel the turret. The end result is one destroyed turret, and lots of gold from all the minions that probably were still in the area.
b) Attacking solo with minions: Cast Blood Boil on your best ranged minion, and proceed to attack the turret.
c) Attacking solo: Now this is my favourite one to do, but before I can tell you how, I should provide an appropriate scenario. For the last five minutes both teams have stuck to a single lane and you are making no ground at all. All they have left is one inhibitor turret and their two inhibitors, but you just can't seem to get that close. You tell your team to keep them busy in the one lane. You rush along through the jungle to avoid being detected by minions on the minimap, and pop out of the bushes in front of the turret. Use Blood Boil to incrase your attack speed, and pound away at the turret. Naturally, the turret will be shooting you. Ignore the damage being taken and keep attacking until you are at half health. By now there should be enemy minions attacking you as well. Use Consume to bring your health back up and keep attacking. Use Heal if absolutely necessary. By yourself, that turret comes crashing down, and you either run away to savour your victory, or see how much of the inhibitor you can take out before anyone shows up.
But what if I'm not level 30 yet?
No worries, just start by filling out the utilities mastery tree first, then move to offense after level 21. Don't bother buying runes until you are level 20. Getting to 20 is easy enough that you save money in the long run.
...and that concludes my strategy guide on how to use Nunu as an AP build. Thank you very much for reading this. Please refer this to any friends you know who play as him, and feel free to vote and leave constructive feedback. This is the first guide I have ever written. ^_^