Rammus Build Guide by Crows
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.
Rammus is probably the best or one of the best tanks in the game. He has two crowd control moves, the highest mobility, and the most innate defense. He also is one of the best junglers in the game (fast clears and good ganks). And, to top it off he does absurd damage with this build.
I suggest anyone who wants to play Rammus read this guide also. It's honestly the best guide around for lane rammus - it's the guide that I learned Rammus from. The only thing is its jungle section is a bit lacking, which is why I made this guide. My in game name is Crowcide, if you have any questions feel free to hit my up in game or leave a comment.
Also this guide IS NOT intended for high elo play. If you are above 1400 elo you can probably figure out to play rammus yourself. I've played rammus at every elo from 900-1500 and i'd say this build is what work best verse people bellow 1300. For example opening Thornmail will probably get you some early kills if you are 1100 elo or in a normal game, it won't if you are 1550.
P.S.: If you like this guide check out my jungle Nautilus guide, he's an exceptionally strong and understated jangler.
-Guide is now finished-
3/20/2012 - Rammus nerfed again! Hit to his base stats will be fairly significant at lower levels. I recommend be more cautious in early ganks.
2/29/2012 - #1 Rammus guide on moba! Thanks for all your support guys
2/15/2012 - Rammus nerf! It's not that bad though.
1/31/2012 - updated items and item section.
1/27/2012 - add a counter jungle section.
1/25/2012 - added a ward section, updated items.
1/19/2012 - preliminary update, I plan on adding a play style section soon that will cover: ganking, ability mechanics, warding, and tanking tips
1/18/2012 - received some great tips from The Brothers' Guide Reviewing Shoppe, will be implementing them over the next few days
1/10/2012 - updated masteries: dropped Honor Guard for Durability and Veteran's Scars
1/08/2011 - looking for feedback on Warmog's Armor verse Aegis of the Legion
1/06/2011 - Broke 80%!
1/02/2011 - At a good suggestion from VirTuZ updated jungle path, used JHOIJHOI guide to improve aesthetics.
12/31/2011 - Added Discussion section, summoner skills, runes and masteries.
12/26/2011 - Added respawn times.
12/12/2011 - Updated jungle path to include getting blue stolen. Corrected some grammar and spelling
12/6/2011 - Finished update for new jungle; added to item section
12/5/2011 - Started update for new jungle
Pros and Cons:
-Crazily high effective health
-Very fast jungle clears (3:50ish seconds to reach lvl 4)
-Super high damage for a tank (I often out kill and out damage carries)
-This build gives you lots of free gold
-Can tower dive early
-Great team utility
-Incredibly blue dependent, especially early
-Steep learning curve to jungle Rammus
-Very dependent on teammates, like all junglers
-Very dependent on teammates, like all tanks
-Weak against counter jungles before lvl 6
-Trouble taking early dragons
Introduction to Jungling and Tanking:
In order to understand this guide (I bet you're wondering why a tank would ever take armor penetration runes?) you need to understand two concepts, jungling and tanking.
Why Jungle? There are a few reasons. First it's extra gold/xp overall for your team - top gets all the gold and xp to himself. Also it's much more flexible. In a game without a jungler on your team it's 1v1 or 2v1 on top, 1v1 in mid, and 2v2 on bottom. This means that every lane is balanced or if their top is 2v1 he will just play defensive and tower hug. With a jungler you are free to turn that 1v1 mid or 2v2 bottom into a 2v1 or 3v2 unexpectedly. This often picks up kills.
Good jungling champs have 3 things:
- Gank: Junglers need to be able to gank. If you don't gank as a jungler you are worthless to rest of your team. Also junglers typically make less gold off their CS than someone who can last hit well. This means that you need to make up that gold with assists and kills.
- Clear Speed: Clearing faster means you can spend more time being beneficial to your team or making the enemies life miserable. Faster clear means you gank more often, cover lanes more, or steal their jungle better
- Sustain: One of the differences between jungling and laneing is that junglers take a lot of damage. Many junglers mitigate this by healing as they kill. Rammus works different, he just gets so tanky he can ignore the pokes from neutral monsters.
Tanking can really be broken down into three parts: drawing agro, not dying, fight control.
Rammus is great at not dying, he gets 120 armor and mr from Defensive Ball Curl. That's nearly four items worth of armor/mr from an ability. He also has a great escape ability, Powerball.
Rammus draws agro in three ways. First he initiates. Simply running in first often picks up a bunch of damage and abilities that would be used on other champs if you didn't take them. Second he has lots of CCs: Powerball knocks up and slows, Puncturing Taunt will force someone to do nothing but hit you for 3 seconds and damage themselves, Randuin's Omen slows a whole team. The third way Rammus picks up agro is by doing absurd damage, the bigger threat you are the more likely the other team is to try and kill you.
Fight control for a tank extremely important. It means protecting the champions on your team who have little defensive stats, disabling their hardest hitters, and drawing their chamnps who lack defense out of position so your team can kill them. It is important to remember that rammus' main CC Puncturing Taunt is most effective verse AD champs. If you get it off on an AD champ they will typically be mostly dead by the time it's over from Thornmail. Also Puncturing Taunt vs AP champs has a problem, many AP champs will have blown all their CD's already, so taunting them doesn't mitigate their damage output just forces them out of position. So, usually it's not smart to Puncturing Taunt brand or swain for example. Does this mean you should never CC AP champs? Of course not. Just realize that your CC is much more effective vs AD. One of the biggest problems with new rammus players is they just taunt the first thing they can get a hold of in team fights.
1)Blue: Get a leash. Don't use defense ball curl until the leash is over. Last hit with Smite - this is very important. If you don't someone may try to steal blue from you, and as rammus if you don't get first blue you might as well surrender at 20(see bellow how to seriously deal with this). Defensive Ball Curl as soon as it comes off cool down. Use your first pot as soon as you take damage.
2)Wolves: Powerball to the wolves. Make sure your Powerball hits all 3 to start the fight. Go immediately into Defensive Ball Curl. Don't use your Powerball when it comes back up - you want it to travel to wraiths faster. Use a potion.
3)Wraiths: Don't Powerball right away when you finish the wolves. You want to start the Powerball about when you step into the center lane (this way it will reach the wraiths for extra damage) Then Defensive Ball Curl. This kills them nearly instantly.
4)Mini-Golems: Use a potion at this fight or on the way to this fight. Again, don't Powerball right away when you're walking to the mini-golems, you wanna wait till you are half way between wraiths and red - this way it will do damage to the mini-golems. Every chance you get Defensive Ball Curl and Powerball. If your smite comes up save it for red. Don't Smite you want it for red.
5)Red: Powerball to red if it's off cd. Make sure your power ball hits all 3. Defensive Ball Curl and Powerball the remainder of the fight as much as you can. When little lizards are at 1hp don't attack them, your Defensive Ball Curl will finish them off eventually. Again smite to kill
6)Back to wraiths:Go back to wraiths. They probably won't be revived for a few seconds, so go stand in the middle of where they spawn. Open with Powerball then Defensive Ball Curl
At this point you should be about 500ish gold, be level 4, and have most of your health. This is the time for your first gank if any lanes are over extended. If not, keep jungling until they do over extend. By over extend I mean they are close to between the river and the tower on your side.
If someone steals your first blue, keep going until you run out of mana. Only use Powerball to travel, not mid fight for extra damage. If you run out of mana go back and buy 3-4 mana potions - this should carry you to a Philosopher's Stone.
It is also important to keep track of respawn times, I typically keep a notepad next to me when I play so I can track dragon and counter jungles:
- Baron respawns in 7 minutes
- Dragon respawns in 6 minutes
- Blue Buff respawns in 5 minutes
- Red Buff respawns in 5 minutes
- Wraiths respawns in 1 minute
- Wolves respawns in 1 minute
- Mini-Golems respawns in 1 minutes
Counter jungling is extremely important. It's one of the things that separates good junglers from great junglers. Counter jungling means going into the other jungle and stealing some of their xp/gold. Every time you do this it's huge. If you steal 100gold worth of mobs that a net 200gold gain for your team (you cost them 100g and gain 100g) - that's almost a kills worth.
Some general tips for counter jungling:
- Alert your team so they can be ready to help, if you get caught very often a team fight will break out. And often you will be at a disadvantage since you're on their side of the map.
- Try to leave one little mob alive. It prevents the camp from re-spawning until they kill it.
- Invest in wards if you want to spend a lot of time counter jungling (see the ward section).
- Try to save your Powerball to retreat.
When any of the following are true, consider stealing some jungle:
- When you have a smite up and can run in and steal a small camp's boss mob (especially wraiths)
- When the other jungler is in a lane and you can't make in time to help
- When the other jungler is low on hp
- Near lanes where the enemy is dead or buying
- After the enemy fails a gank
- When wards catch the jungler and you can get help from your lanes ganking him
My most common counter jungle is running up to the wraiths, smiting the big wraith and hitting him once if necessary to kill him. This is extremely easy, safe, and fast.
Placing wards in the enemy jungle on key buffs (see the ward section) is excellent for counter jungling. You can see when their buffs are up and when they go for them. This gives you tons of options. If you see the enemy going for the buff talk to your teammates (quickly) and decide to gank or not. If your team doesn't think you can pull of the gank then go steal some of his jungle on the opposite side.
How to deal with being counter jungled:
The best way to deal with being counter jungled is wards, wards, and more wards. Place wards on your buff camps for sure. When you see the enemy going for one of these camps make a quick decision: get your lanes to help you gank or if you don't think you can pull it off go steal some of his jungle.
Warding is extremely important. Most people will tell you that it's everyone on the teams job, and they are right. But, the lion share of the work falls first to the support and second to the jungler. This map shows where I typically place wards, with black being the most important, red being next and jungle wards, and blue being situational wards.
If you feel the enemy team is placing a lot of wards you want to consider buying an oracle. Don't ever buy it before your gold items. And most of the time start thinking of buying if you aren't dying a lot and after you purchase your first tank item.
Black represents the key wards. They are the most important as they protect key camps (dragon and baron) and the lanes - consider placing pink wards here because both teams will probably have these spots warded. These wards should pretty much always be up. Communicate with your lanes and see if they plan on placing them. Also note, If you place them EXACTLY right you can also see the paths into the jungle.
The blue wards are for jungling and/or counter jungling. If your jungle keeps getting invaded, place these wards on your side. If you want to counter jungle, place them on their side. Notice how they are placed so you can see the key buff mobs and at the same time see as many lanes as possible. This is really important, as it helps you keep track of the maximal amount of enemy positions and tell which direction enemies are haeded.
The red wards are more situational, and mostly for your mid lane. If mid keeps getting ganked place these on your side. It will let them see if someone is sneaking up behind them. These wards are mids job more than yours, but being a team player wins games. These wards have the most mobility, like I often place the wards at 10 and 9 in the north and south bushes respectively, instead.
Rammus really only has a select few stats that he cares about. Health, Armor, Mr, and Damage. Rammus will pick up most of his damage from Thornmail, armor, taunting, and his passives. Determining the priority of these stats involves a bit of math (hello calculus and first derivative). The effective health* formula is: Effective Health = Health × (100 + Armor) / 100 or Effective Health = Health × (100 + MR) / 100. Now tanks typically prioritize Armor over MR for a good reason. Magic damage typically comes from abilities on cool downs, where as damage that is mitigated by armor is sustained. For this reason we prioritize health and armor over MR. The benefits of this will be obvious once we do a bit more math. This build gives Rammus about 500Armor, 300 MR, and 4000 Health with Defensive Ball Curl. Plugging these numbers into our Effective Health formulas yields about: 22,000 vs armor and 15,000 vs magic in terms of effective health. Ask your self, what five mages together can dish out 15,000 damage in one cool down cycle. And very importantly this itemization does absurd damage.
Items:It is extremely important to note that this build is designed for the standard meta game which is a healthy balance of casters and physical damage. If the team you are against isn't balanced you will need to substitute in some situational items.
|Philosopher's Stone||xx||Some people don't like this buy, and you can skip it. But, I strongly suggest you don't. It pays for itself in 26 minutes and 40 seconds, if you sell it, it takes 13 minutes and 20 seconds. It also sustains your jungle and allows you to start giving blue buffs (after the first) to your casters.||xx||Philosopher's Stone|
|xx||This item is mandatory as Rammus. You ALWAYS get it second (or first if you skip Philosopher's Stone, which you really shouldn't as a jungler). Health is your main stat early since your abilities give you 120 armor and 120 mr. This item almost always pays for it self because you build it into Randuin's Omen. If for some reason you don't build it into a Randuin's Omen it will pay for it self in 27 minutes and 30 seconds, or 13 minutes and 45 seconds if you sell.||xx|
||xx||Don't get these before your gold items. You have Powerball, you get from A to B faster than anyone else with it alone. Choosing between Mercury's Treads or
Ninja Tabi should be based on how much crowd control the other team has and how many AD carries vs how many AP carries they have. Sometimes instead you should pick up Boots of Mobility or Boots of Swiftness - if you find you have to constantly gank/cover/counter jungle consider these boots instead
|xx||Provides rammus with lots of damage. It provides 25 AD, 100 Armor, and 30% reflect. This with your Puncturing Taunt will wreck people.||xx|
|xx||Has several of Rammus' main stats. Health, MR, and a spell shield. This and Mercury's Treads are your only MR in the main build. In high level games this is considered a bad item (and it is). It's a newb stomper though. If you are bellow 1200 elo this item turns rammus into a killing machine.||xx|
|xx||Is great! Health, armor, slows, what more can you ask for! The only reason you don't get it earlier is you want to keep your gp10 from Heart of Gold for as long as possible.||xx|
Alternate Item Builds:
For all of these start with Cloth Armor + 5x Health Potion
Verse all AP:
Philosopher's Stone -> -> or -> -> -> -> -> or This build maintains Rammus offensive power and makes him nearly impossible to kill against an all AP team. The last choice should be based on the need for additional CC or some Armor verse a solid buff to your team.
100% Damage orientated build:
Philosopher's Stone -> -> or -> -> -> -> -> -> This build isn't viable in any type of serious play, but it's really fun. It will make Rammus take a huge hit to his tankability but will also turn him into a little turtle killing machine.
Legit Tanky DPS Build:
Philosopher's Stone -> -> or -> -> -> -> or or or This build is very strong if you want to be tanky and still kill, it was given to me by Blydden's
Sometimes a cook cutter build won't work, especially as a tank. If a carry gets out of hand you very well may have to swap one type of reduction for the other on the fly. Or, sometimes you may need to pick up a unique ability to counter a specific composition ( Frozen Heart for the nerf to auto attacks, Aegis of the Legion to give your team more armor/mr, or Quicksilver Sash to negate CC for example). If this is the case use the table bellow to make an informed decision in terms of gold effectiveness where to make a swap. 9/10 of the time I give up Sunfire Cape from the main build for one of these items
This table uses the cheapest one stat items to calculate gold efficiency (rounded). Armor is valued at 20g per 1 point of armor from Thornmail, MR is valued at 25g per 1 point of MR from Quicksilver Sash, and health is valued at 3.5g per 1 point of health from a charged Warmog's Armor
The efficiency number is the most important one in the table. In terms of only health, MR, and armor it tells you how gold efficient an item is. The negative values indicate a more expensive than average ability or aura on the item. The green values indicate a cheaper than average aura or ability on the item. So for example, if you are getting steam rolled by heavily magic based champ consider a green item with MR.
Also it is important to note: that the most cost effective items are the unbuilt ones. That means if things are going bad early game, it's often better to buy a Chain Vest, Cloth Armor, and a Negatron Cloak rather than a higher tier item. Provided you have plans to upgrade them later.
*effective health is your health equivalent to champion with out any armor.
Greater Mark of Lethality
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Armor
This rune selection at 18 gives you: 24 MR 25 Armor and 15 Armor Pen.
- Greater Mark of Desolation: This is probably the most controversial rune choice. This cuts down on jungling time significantly and helps you gank. Rammus' lvl 1 basic attack damage is much higher than nearly any other champion due to his passive Spiked Shell, purchase of Cloth Armor and first point in Defensive Ball Curl. There aren't really any good defensive choices for red and getting Greater Mark of Desolation boost your damage early by a lot.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist makes the most sense because you shouldn’t be taking any magic damage before you gank. And, when you gank they should be running. By the time team fights are around Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist will give you the most MR.
- Greater Quintessence of Armor and Greater Seal of Armor: Provide a healthy chunk of armor. You don't want these scaling because you will be taking continuous AD from the jungle and Armor is also AD for Rammus.
These runes are less than optimal, but are possible situations against certain line ups, or if you don't have the recommended runes
- Greater Mark of Scaling Magic Resist: Is the best choice if you want a tanky mark.
- Greater Mark of Attack Speed: Actually gives you a tiny bit more overall dps early game if you can sit there and continuously hit a target (like you do verse jungle monsters), but this isn't often the case in ganking. Also Greater Mark of Desolation will do more mid/late game damage. So alacrity will slightly speed up early game jungle but cost you late game damage and ganking ability.
- Greater Quintessence of Health: This gives you some early sustain but is MUCH less effective late game and slows your jungle time since you don't get the extra damage from armor.
- Greater Quintessence of Gold: These are actually viable with this build on Rammus believe it or not. This speeds up your itemization but at considerable cost to your early game.
I will explain some of the more debatable choices in my mastery selection.
- Expanded Mind over Good Hands is a play style choice. Rammus doesn't die often due to his awesome resistance and escape mechanics. If he does it's typically in the first few levels when you nearly instantly re-spawn. But rammus does have mana problems, even at late game. Like i said this is 100% play style, I just rather be able to use my abilities whenever I want more than waiting an extra 10 seconds when I'm dead.
- Swiftness over Meditation :You have blues and philosopher stone for mana, the faster movement can mean the difference between a successful gank and not, or getting a taunt off.
- Honor Guard verse Durability and Veteran's Scars : you would need 5,333 health for 80 health to be 1.5%, so Durability and Veteran's Scars will almost always be more effective.
One of the strongest things about Rammus is that he can mitigate a lot of weakness your team has by altering his skill order or changing his summoner spells.
Your skill sequence is a balance between Defensive Ball Curl and Puncturing Taunt - these two skills are your bread and butter. Defensive Ball Curl gives you faster jungling where you take less damage. Puncturing Taunt helps you gank, it’s your strongest form of CC. You want at least 2 points in Defensive Ball Curl for jungling sake ASAP. After that it strongly depends on how the particular game is going. If everyone of your lanes is pushed all the time, finish out Defensive Ball Curl. If all your lanes seem like they are open to gank a lot, lvl up Puncturing Taunt so you can get some easy kills.
- Puncturing Taunt: This is your best CC. Once you get Thornmail it allows you to wreck any AD based champion. The biggest mistake people make with this is taunting the first thing they can get a hold of in team fights. The CD for this is fairly long, so pick a target that counts. Another often overlooked use of this is the debuff to armor. If you are jungling and have blue use this to clear faster.
- Defensive Ball Curl: 120 armor and MR. This is one of the best skills in the game. Most tanks cap out about 200 armor and 150 MR. Towards the end of the build it also returns 100 damage a hit. In team fights pop this as soon as you initiate. Remember to cancel it ASAP if it isn't being used to keep it off cool down.
- Powerball: There is no need for more than one point in Powerball, because more points won't improve speed, duration, or how good the knock back is - which are it's main uses. Powerball is great to initiate and allows excellent map control. Rammus can show up in most fights even if he is across the map because of this skill.
- Tremors: This is excellent damage. Not many skills do 1500 damage without scaling. The CD on this is low enough where you can use it to clear big minion waves if you don't think a team fight is on the horizon. Remember it damages towers.
- Smite:Always always always get Smite if you jungle. I don't care if you don't need it. It makes jungling faster. It secure Barron and dragon. It is key for counter jungling. Take Smite or you're playing wrong, always.
- Flash: This spell has many usses on Rammus. You can use Flash while you are in Powerball, which allows you to jump over minion waves. It's a great chase if Powerball is on CD to get that Puncturing Taunt off. If you get caught in the jungle it's an excellent escape.
Alternate summoner spells:
- Ignite: If your team has excellent gank possibilities by having strong cc (taric or sion for example) in nearly every lane consider Ignite. Or if your team has nearly no debuff to healing and you are verse Soraka.
- Exhaust: If your team is seriously lack in the CC department consider this spell. It allows you to hand 1 additional target in team fights.