Rammus Build Guide by The Ground Below
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After watching the dreamhack qualifiers, I noticed a trend in the choice for jungle champion. Tanks were the most common and best choice. This makes sense, of course, since the combination of crowd control and lack of harassing ability (let's face it, given the choice between laning Warwick and Rammus, Warwick is much more likely to win his lane). Hence tanks should be the jungler whenever possible.
However I hate to tank. Mostly I hate to lane tanks. That is another reason for this guide.
Anyway I wanted to develop some nice tech for jungling Rammus. This is me sharing that tech.
SPOILER: The tech lets you jungle golems to golem and avoid some nasty early shenanigans.
The Runes and the jungle path are really the keys to this build.
AD MARKS!: Ok, so your late game damage suck. SO WHAT!? You're a tank, and you damage is secondary. The early game damage to get through the jungle quickly and hurt a lot in ganks is more important. There is an arguement for adding a bit of ArPen, but I have found this setup quite effective.
Armor Seals: Why take anything else on Rammus? I am not explaining this; this bus does not stop to explain why flat armor is good on jungle rammus.
MR/LVL GlYPHS: So you want to not die to spells? OK. There is no need take flats with Mercury's Treads and MR/lvl give more in the long run.
Armor Quints: same as seals, helps a lot and lets you go golems to golem.
HP Quints: These give you early survivability in the jungle.
Start at little golems. No one expects Rammus to start here. This is good. This route is also pretty fast. To kill the golems, attack one and hit Defensive Ball Curl. Attack one golem and when it is low enough (just under two thirds, I think it works out to 3 autoattacks and 4 ball procs) smite it. Drink a health pot. Then finish the other golem.
Powerball to the wraiths and focus the blue one with ball curl active. This is the easiest camp for Rammus, so stealing it is easy. Remember this for any counter-jungling opportunities. Pot here too.
Walk to wolves and ball curl+pot to kill them. Level ball curl again and powerball to golem.
Kill golem with ball curl and a pot and a smite. You can smite at around 600 (as opposed to 550) since you are level 3 rather than 1 and smite gains 25 true damage per level.
Now I usually back and then gank now (sometimes you have to wait for a creep death for level 4). Then wraiths and red if you want. You have enough CC from taunt+ball (remember to flash+ball to get through creeps. Also landing between two enemies can create a nice position to focus one of them).
Then you can take red. You aren't too dependent on it. Basically you want to clear the jungle and get Philosopher's Stone and Heart of Gold as quickly as possible. Don't forget wards as they are the best items in the game.
The cloth armor and pots are pretty self-explanatory.
Next comes boots. Also obvious. The consumables are very helpful but not essential.
Philosopher's Stone gives nice income and takes care of your mana troubles. The HP/5 gives you nice sustainablity as well.
Heart of Gold gives Gold/10 and builds into Randuin's Omen Later. We take it now for a few reasons: the first and best is the gold. The other is that health is the most efficient way to add tankiness early game until damage outputs rise to the point where a percentage decrease is more important (this is not that late into the game, I realize).
Then Mercury's Treads gives some much-needed MR and a bit of CC reduction. This is good since you are squishy until you get some more items.
Warden's Mail is great for the cost and you like armor.
Now you need more MR, so a Banshee's Veil Starting with Negatron Cloak is a nice way to not die. And it's your job to not die. No matter how much people attack you.
Randuin's Omen has a nice active and all the benefits of the pieces. It also lets you ult more often, which is nice for fights and taking towers (that's right, it hits towers. SO GOOD!).
After the Core I generally buy Thornmail for the damage. It also helps you not die, but mostly for the damage.
Against a team that does not have a significant amount of AD you should opt for Force of Nature.
After I have built both of the above (against balances teams) I generally buy a Shurelya's Reverie to help my team get around the map and get more taunts. At first I thought this Item was a poor choice and simply selling the Philo Stone might be better, however this item is always nice when I buy it.
From here I get either:
MORE TANK=> Guardian Angel or Quicksilver Sash
ANTI-AD DAMAGE=> Atma's Impaler (see the next section for notes on this; I do not recommend that you purchase damage against balanced teams)
ANTI-AP DAMAGE=> Wit's End. I know it's crazy, but it is one of the few things that give both MR and damage.
Exploiting Unbalanced Teams
If you find yourself against a team that is significantly skewed in favor of one type of damage, you can capitalize on this. You carries should pick up a Negatron Cloak or Chain Vest, bur as a tank you can stack sufficient resistance items in 5 item slots (at least one should be for the other resistance and mind that Lich's Bane needs armor and Madred's Bloodrazor needs MR) to remain in the sweet spot of diminishing returns after penetration effects. This leaves the sixth item slot open for either wards or an offensive item. This means that your team will do more damage in combat than the enemy since you have more team members adding damage. Survivability should come easily as well giving your team a very real and significant advantage.
Ganking is easy. You just powerball up to them, Taunt as they start to run and Ball curl. That's it. make sure to use the ball to knock them to your team (not away).
The Taunt is your CC for the gank. Your autoattacks do a fair bit of damage (over 100 before armor with ball curl active) and you should be able to help your team win lanes.
The only problem is your counter-jungle is rather poor. You are not Nunu. Oh well your late-game utility is better (IMO hard CC beats soft CC).
You are a tank. INITIATE (when safe).
You should focus your taunt on either carry or use it defensively to cancel something like a Nunu ult. I once saved an Ashe from Jarvan IV by taunting him in his ult. He could not attack and stood there while Ashe tore him apart.
Since Taunts silence an AP carry is a decent choice for a taunt. Basically you should put it on whomever does the most damage.
Pros / Cons
A decent tank. I think that there are relatively few of these.
Can jungle as a tank!
Can ult towers!
Moves around the map quickly (two powerballs with blue lets you dissapear from bottom and appear top before you are really expected).
Banned a lot in ranked.
Laning sucks (kinda irrelevant here)
A Metagame Note: Why Tanks Jungle
This is a note on my interpretation of the current metagame. I am not a highly ranked player but I dabble here and there in things above my ELO. Hence this note.
The metagame seems to place a ranged carry+ support bottom, AP carry mid and an offtank top. Hence the tank must jungle. This is all well and good. Actually, this is really good. Deviations from this create problems. Consider the following:
The Tank is Solo top (Offtank Jungle, i.e. Olaf):
The lack of ranged pokes on most tanks (exclude Shen & Cho'Gath) makes it quite unlikely for the tank to win the lane and get a good farm. This gives your opponent a farmed offtank and you a poor quality tank.
The Tank is Solo Mid (AP Jungle, i.e. Akali)
This is a problem for the same reason the above is a problem.
The Tank is Bot (AD Carry/Support Jungle, i.e. Tryndamere/Karma)
So this leaves all the harassing to the support champion, and any Soraka or Sona can outheal this damage. Then we give the enemy a farmed AD carry and take an underfarmed AD carry and an underfarmed tank. If the support champion jungles you both have to put up with a Karma on your team, but you also have a lane with poor sustainability that MUST be sustained. THis is a terrible decision in either case.
Hence the tank SHOULD JUNGLE IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. Hence Amumu is probably the best tank in the game, followed by Shen, and finally Rammus. Then bad tanks like Maokai and even Udyr (He shouldn't tank IMO). Then laning tanks like...Singed (if you consider him a tank). Nunu is also a decent tank despite his lack of CC simply because of his very strong jungle.
Flat Armor Quints x3. Just finished another set of runes, once i get some more IP I will be sure to try this. I have high hopes.
Written and published 6/14/2011