Nunu Build Guide by Drakinite
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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.
Hello, and welcome to my Solo-Top Nunu guide. I got inspiration for this guide by watching (and being shut down by) a solo-top Nunu that used a build similar to this one. After tweaking it a little I came up with my own version that has won me many solo-top matchups and usually the games as well.
Nothing dominates a team more than a Nunu that gets fed in a solo lane. Left with his own farm and exp advantage, Nunu can easily get fed early and then start snowballing HARD.
So without much further ado, I present my way of freezing up Solo-Top with:
Nunu, The Yeti Rider
7/1/2012 *update* BIG NUNU BUFFS INC, WHOOOOOO!
These buffs will allow our big furry friend to Jungle much better than he can currently, so when the next patch comes out I will make a whole other section where I describe how to Jungle with Nunu. Stay tuned!
A Quick Note
I like to Color Code things to highlight important things, organize terms into categories, and also just to make this guide fun to look at :D
So these are what my Color Codes mean:
Light Blue: I use this color to highlight terms related to AP casters (mana, ability power, CD reduction, etc)
Orange: I use orange to highlight things like Armor, Magic Resist, Crowd Control; tanky type things.
Yellow: I use yellow to highlight important things you should pay attention to, or to stress a point.
Red: I use red to highlight VERY important things, things related to the color red, or things I rage about, lol
Green: I use green to highlight things like HP, things related to Jungling, or things associated with the color green.
Pros & Cons
No champ is perfect, and not many are truly OP so every champ will have their ups and downs. To the best of my knowledge these are Nunu's.
-High AP ratios on his spells
-INCREDIBLE damage potential with Absolute Zero.
-Great mobility with Blood Boil
-Very hard to gank, even if overextended (to a point of course)
-Great team asset: Using your spells correctly can and will win you team fights
-Outstanding lane sustain (one of the best imo)
-Great versatility: can be the Team's Main Tank or AP caster
-Focused EXTREMELY hard: Expect all Crowd Control to be aimed at you
-Easy to mess up ultimate because of ^^
-Low farming capabilities
-No real escape mechanism
Well, I feel like Masteries really shouldn't have to be explained because you can read them to find out why I picked them..... but w/e I'd feel bad if I didn't ^__^
*Feel free to skip this section if you don't need to read the reasoning behind my choice of Masteries*
So for anyone who doesn't know which Masteries to pick, or for some reason don't know what the Masteries do, I'll explain them:
So in the first tier in the Offense tree, I pick Mental Force for more early game AP, because all of Nunu's spells scale very well, and I also pick Butcher to help Nunu farm better. On the second tier I pick
Sorcery for CD Reduction, which helps Nunu's lane sustain and harass capabilities. I also pick
Demolitionist to help bring down towers faster, and because there is nothing else that makes sense. In the third tier I pick Arcane Knowledge for Magic Pen which makes your spells hit harder. In the fourth tier I choose Blast for again, more AP. Although it is only 18 AP at lvl 18, there is nothing else really. In the fifth tier I pick Archmage which essentially makes Rabadon's Deathcap give you 35% more AP instead of 30% AP, which actually means a lot late game. In the sixth and final tier I pick Executioner to help Nunu finish off low-life enemies.
In the Defense Tree I pick Summoner's Resolve for the 10% boost to Heal which really helps in tight spots. If I'm using Build # 2, then I put this point into Summoner's Wrath for the boost to Ignite when it's off cd.
In the Utility Tree I pick Summoner's Insight for the reduced cast time of Teleport, and also on the first row I pick Expanded Mind to help with mana issues. On the second row I choose Meditation if I'm using Builds 1&2, and put 1 point into Scout , but if I'm using Build 3, I take 4 points in Swiftness , to make my Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed more effective.
The summoner spells I choose to use with my Solo-Top Nunu are Teleport and Heal.
: I choose Teleport because it's a handy spell for any Solo-Top. You can recall, gank another lane, and get back to your own lane in seconds! Also this can save a turret that's in danger of being destroyed. I mean let's face it, nobody has PERFECT map awareness. Every once and a while some wily enemy will push a lane under your team's noses and try to take down your turret. This spell ensures that at least the chance of that happening is quite lowered. Also this can be useful for getting to a far-away teamfight instantly. I love this spell a lot!
: I choose Heal in order to make you practically un-gankable, and to enable some crazy turret dives. Enemy Jungler coming after you? Pop Blood Boil and Ice Blast them. Still not enough and they might kill you?
Heal + Consume
This spell can be used to make turret dives, that you wouldn't normally be able to do, possible. On the reverse side this can make someone who turret dived you look like an idiot when you heal up, and pop your ultimate. I've seriously been ganked, and came away with double kills multiple times because of this spell, never underestimate it. (Plus sometimes it makes the dumber enemies rage xD What's more fun than trolling idiots? :D )
*Optional Summoner Spells*
: Ignite Is useful against some self-regenerating Solo-tops such as Vladimir or Dr. Mundo. Otherwise Just extra damage on top of your spells to secure a kill.
: Flash is awesome too, don't get me wrong! It's an unparalleled escape mechanism on Nunu, I just like Teleport more. This can be used for flashing over walls to Consume/ Ice Blast Dragon or Baron or escape from enemies by flashing over walls, or flashing over walls to use your Absolute Zero surprisingly; the list goes on and on.
These are the Runes I use, and in this section I'll explain why I picked these specifically:
Builds 1 & 2: Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - I pick these Marks to make my spells hit harder; there's really no other Marks that are viable for AP Casters imho.
Build 3: Greater Mark of Armor - I pick these when I am going to be the tank in order to have a greater advantage in solotop, which is mostly where you will find AD damage champs.
Builds 1 & 2: greater seal of replenishment - I have reverted my decision to use Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power over these runes because I noticed that Nunus early game was dramatically more mana starved (lvls 1-4). After you purchase catalyst the protector, you basically don't have mana problems anymore, taking into account your passive, Visionary. So these runes are pretty much standard for this build imho.
Build 3: Greater Seal of Armor - ^Same reason as the marks. You could subsitute these for greater seal of vitality if you like having high hp, but I like having high resistances at lvl 1, then building hp as I lvl up.
Build 1 & 2: Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power - I pick these because I absolutely fell in love with the idea of staying in lane = more AP, which Nunu can capitalize on with his amazing sustain and the passive from catalyst the protector.
Build 3: Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - I choose these when I'm using the Tank build because they provide the highest amount of Mr at lvl 18 of any runes (which is when Mr is useful, late game) and also to deal with the occasional Kennen or Vladimir that you come across in top lane.
Builds 1 & 2: Greater Quintessence of Ability Power - I choose these quints in order to give my spells a nice boost in early game
Remember- each point of AP = +1 dmg on Ice Blast, +1 heal on Consume and +2.5 dmg on Absolute Zero
Build 3: Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - I pick these when I'm building tank because they offer you a lot of mobility when combined with Blood Boil and Swiftness .
: This passive is made for Solo-Top. This basically means that every 5 last hits on minions gives you 1 free spell cast, which is fantastic! Try to be careful not to waste this on a Blood Boil, as that is your cheapest spell. Try to use your passive only for Ice Blast, as free harass is always great! Plus Ice Blast is your most expensive spell mana-wise; not counting Absolute Zero because thats not spammable.
: This spell is awesome! It is what gives Nunu such great lane sustain. Once you get a large sum of AP it is one of the highest healing spells in game (save Heal, but hey, we have that too ^__^). This spell can save you from dying with some quick thinking; just Consume the nearest minion or champion-placed object (Shacos boxes, Heimerdinger's Turrets, Annies Tibbers, etc) for a big heal and high-tail it out! This can also be useful for securing/stealing Baron, Dragon, or Blue buff. It's cooldown is pretty high early on, so try to save it for when you need it. I max this spell second.
: This spell is very valuable to have on your team for multiple reasons; It can help you destroy a tower quicker (even quicker if there is a team-mate helping you), it can help you and a team-mate to escape/chase an enemy, and it can help boost your AD Carry's DPS significantly. 65% is a HUGE number, and your carry will really feel the effects. Also a neat little trick I've learned is to use it on an allied siege minion in order to push a lane really fast, or take down a tower if your solo-pushing. I max this spell third.
: This spell is really cool. (seewutIdidthere?) All lame puns aside this spell is fantastic for both offensive and defensive purposes. It scales 100% with AP, wow! It slows attack speed by 25%, awesome! It slows movement speed by 60% for 4 seconds.... 0__o
One of the longest slows in game, if not the longest. Use this to take huge chunks out of your Solo-Top opponent's HP. Use it in team-fights on the most dangerous enemy AD Carry to lower their DPS. Use it on fleeing enemies to chase them down and put a hurtin' on em! All in all an amazing spell and I max this first by lvl 9.
: Words cannot describe the awesomeness of this spell. It is the highest damage dealing spell in game by FAR. Not only is the base power 1125 at rank 3, it scales 250% with AP!!!!!!!!!!! OMG xD
The only problem is getting a full channel off, which is pretty difficult (unless your hiding in a bush >:D). This is why enemies will jump at the occasion to CC you.
So in order to combat that, you must exercise caution when using this. High Crowd Control Tanky Champions like Alistar, Blitzcrank, Rammus, Nautilus etc will shut down your ultimate as quickly as they can, trust me.
Since Absolute Zero is so powerful, and the CD is so long, it really matters how carefully you plan out using it. You NEVER want to use it right at the start of the fight; try to wait until you see that all of the enemies Crowd Control has been blown and then start channeling. Since you should have pretty high HP and Heal, it should be ok if you take a bit of damage first. Just don't start channeling with, like, less than 100 HP left, you'll just waste it.
Depending on whether your the team's Main Tank, AP carry, or a mix of both, your build should adjust accordingly. Not every game will you get fed and buy all damage items, sometimes you must sacrifice being a carry in order to be a tank. But considering Nunu has very high AP ratios, you only need a little AP to do good damage.
In the 3 builds shown above, the starting items are the same; all the other items are situational. I'll explain the reasoning behind the starting items I choose, and the situational items below.
: I start with this because it gives me all I need in one neat, little, cheap package; AP, Mana Regen, and HP.
: The next time you return to base, pick up these and if you can another Doran's Ring. If your not a fan of Dorans stacking, then start working on the next item.
Ok, now for your next purchase you have some choices:
: Merc Treads- These are the boots I usually wind up with, because Nunu is on the receiving end of a ****-LOAD of CC. These help with that.
: Sorc Shoes- Get these if for some odd reason the enemies aren't focusing you very much, and you want your spells to hit harder.
: CD Boots- Get these if you love spamming spells, want to be able to use your ultimate sooner, or just don't feel the need for the other boots. I almost never get these, but they are a viable option nonetheless.
: This should be your first big item purchase after the 2nd stage boots. It gives you everything this guide focuses on; AP and Survive-Ability. Also the passive is INCREDIBLE for the laning phase; this along with Consume ensures you almost never have to leave your lane. So when your building this, build
catalyst the protector first (That's why I like to buy another Doran's Ring, if you don't buy a 2nd
Doran's Ring, then buy a Blasting Wand first).
After this point in your build your item purchases will become situational based off of what is going on in that particular game.
: Yes, I moved this item to the situational items list. That's because if your the teams Main Tank you should focus more on survive-ability, rather than damage. If your not the tank, and you find yourself pretty fed after purchasing your Rod of Ages, go ahead and pick this up. It gives a huge boost to AP, which gives you a lot more damage ( Ice Blast Absolute Zero), and sustain ( Consume).
: This is a great item that fits in with any Nunu build. The slow ontop of your Ice Blast is too good, and the large amount of HP and AP benefit whichever role your playing, whether it's AP Carry or Main Tank.
: Get this if you are literally getting hit by E.V.E.R.Y - S.I.N.G.L.E Crowd Control spell the opponents have, which sadly does happen often :( . This helps to ensure you can get a clean Absolute Zero off in a fight, and the HP and Magic Resist make you more tanky.
: A good item to pick up if your Tanking for your team, and your support isn't getting this. The stats may seem kinda low, but the aura really helps the team out, and its does give you +30 armor, and +39 Magic resist. Don't underestimate this item.
: Get this if you are having problems with an enemy AD Carry. This along with the attack speed debuff from Ice Blast will make any AD champion's attack speed so pitifully slow that they will no longer be a threat while they are under it's effects. It doesn't matter if that Tryndamere has an Infinity Edge if his attack speed is -1! ^__^ (That's an exaggeration, but seriously his attack speed will be so slow he will only be able to attack you once before you freeze him solid with your ultimate >:D )
: Get this if you want more AP and Magic Resist. The passive is also good for dealing huge damage to squishes, and will benefit the other members of your team who deal magic damage.
: Get this if your the Team's Main Tank and you need a lot of Magic Resist. The Movement-Speed enables you to move around the map quicker, and the Health Regen lets you eat the DPS of the enemy carries like a BAWUS and live to tell about it.
: Get this item if you want to have CRAZY mana regen, a decent amount of MR, and a good amount of AP. The on kill/assist effect is AWESOME for team-fights, and I simply just love this item xD. Chalice of Harmony was one of my favorite items, but I never got it because it was useless late game, but now it isn't! All in all a very good item.
: Get this as a final item if your opponents are stacking Magic Resist against you, and you don't need to be really Tanky.
Build #1: This build is a mix of Tankiness, with a good amount of AP also. This is what I wind up using in most of my games that can go either way, and you have a Main Tank already that can initiate for you. Your pretty tanky and hard to kill, while also able to put out some big numbers with Ice Blast and Absolute Zero. A pretty balanced set-up.
Build #2: This build is all out offensive. ONLY use this build if you already have a good amount of kills by the time you purchase Rod of Ages, and the rest of your team is doing well also. Make sure you have a strong tank too, your pretty squishy with this build. Your damage output will be astronomical if your doing well and keeping Mejai's Soulstealer stacks high, but if you get caught out of position or your ganked, your going down pretty quickly. A good build for games where your getting super-fed, but not a build to use in a close game.
Build #3: This build is for when your the teams Main Tank. Note that before finishing Rod of Ages, its good to buy Glacial Shroud in order to start getting tanky early on. We still finish Rod of Ages though, because you still need some damage and sustain from Consume. The AP from RoA and Rylai's is sufficient, so the rest of the items focus on Tankiness.
Ok, in this section I'm going to describe how Nunu fares against some Solo-Top opponents that I have faced. This is a work in progress and I'll add a part to it every time I face somebody that isn't in here yet. I rate the difficulty of the Match-Up on a scale from 1(easiest) - 5(hardest).
Jayce: This guy is a little difficult to deal with, but with good timing on Consume and Ice Blast, you can zone him and out-heal his damage, which will most likely be his To The Skies! / Shock Blast which he uses in conjunction with Thundering Blow / Acceleration Gate. The long distance version does a good amount of damage, so avoiding it is key. The melee range version is a gap closer + a slow, so don't get near him if you have low HP. Just keep shooting Ice Blast and use Consume to effectively ignore his poking. He has no sustain from his abilities, so you can out-lane him. Avoid fighting him at lvl 2, because he can effectively use 4 abilities. If he chooses his Q & E and he has Ignite that's probably a kill early on. You beat him at later lvls though, so just farm up, and harass him constantly.
Irelia: Normally this chick gives me some major problems in Solo-Top, but against Nunu, Irelia has a tough time. She doesn't have an instant heal like Consume, and Ice Blast does more damage than she can heal with Hiten Style. Keep hitting her with Ice Blast, and stay out of her range and you should do fine and get a few kills. Using your ultimate is tricky though, when she has lower HP than you do, she'll stun you and interrupt your ultimate, and she can also Bladesurge out of it's range if there are creeps or other players around. She's also deceptively strong at low HP due to her true damage and life steal from her ultimate. But she has no real ranged counter harass to your Ice Blast, so you should win the lane. 2/5
Pantheon: This match-up isn't too hard, because he lacks any sustain at all, and your Ice Blast counters the passive of Heartseeker Strike. I noticed that he CAN out DPS you early game, so watch out for that; especially if he is packing Ignite or Exhaust (running them both is not uncommon for a
Pantheon). Also be careful about using your ult, he can just use his also, and dodge yours. Overall though, he just simply isn't able to stay in lane as long as Nunu, and he falls off very hard past about lvl 8, while you continue to get stronger. 2/5
Ryze: This guy can spam spells at you waaaaay faster than you can Ice Blast him, so don't expect to out DPS him. His sustain isn't that good considering all his spells involve damage with little to no utility, so basically farm safely and play the waiting game. Eventually you'll force him out by default, because you have a way to heal yourself ( Consume) and he doesn't. I didn't manage to get any kills from him, but the Ryze I faced was also very defensive. So if I face a more aggressive Ryze I'll update this. Also like Talon, NEVER tower-dive Ryze, he will Rune Prison you, and you'll die :/ 2/5
Shen: Omg, this guy is so annoying! His Vorpal Blade range has very similar range to your
Ice Blast, so expect to take some damage when you go in to harass him. His sustain is also very good, because he has unlimited energy, and he only has to auto-attack things affected by his Q to regain HP. Also his taunt ensures that 1v1 you wont ever get to use your ultimate, so don't even bother. His passive does a surprising amount of damage, so don't be lulled into thinking that hes harmless, he can kill you if your not careful. I say just stick to farming, and try to time your Ice Blast and use it only after Shen uses his
Vorpal Blade on minions to reduce counter-harass. 4/5
Talon: This guy is scary! His ranged silence, cutthroat has a larger range than your Ice Blast, as well as Rake, so safe harass isn't really an option. Basically use Ice Blast whenever your passive is up, expect to take some damage, and then Consume to heal up. Make him go OOM by constantly trying to harass you, and then heal up afterwards. But don't get too low on HP, his burst post lvl 6 is crazy. Plus the silence will always catch you off guard since it's so sudden, and he'll interrupt your ultimate whenever you use it. Basically play it safe, expect to take some damage, but you out sustain him, so you should win the lane. Ask for ganks frequently and you should be fine. *Note* Don't EVER Tower-Dive him, especially if he has Ignite. I tried this and wound up silenced, ignited, and dead within seconds, and couldn't do a thing to him. Bad idea! 3/5
Teemo: This lane is very easy, after like lvl 3, you can out heal any damage he can do to you with
Consume, and Ice Blast will rip him apart, and counter Toxic Shot. Not very much to explain, you basically beat him in every way, so expect to get fed and get a lot of free farm ^__^ ! 1/5
Vladimir: I used to rate big ol Vladimir a 1/5, but since then I've faced others in solo-top, and I've lost badly to some, been even with some and dominated some. Honestly, it's all about who's jungler can put the most pressure on top lane early. You out sustain him early game because Transfusion has a long CD and his other spells cost HP, but on the other hand he has no mana and he can out DPS you. My advice to you is be VERY smart about using Ignite, don't try to 1v1 him after lvl 5, and ask your jungler to gank frequently. Varies
Yorick: Ugh, playing against Yorick in a solo lane is really tough as Nunu. I'd personally just pick a different solo-top if you know your going up against him, but if your playing normals and cant predict your opponent, just play it safe and hope for the best. You can't out damage him, you can't out sustain him, but you CAN last longer mana-wise. Until he builds Tear of the Goddess. Then he pretty much beats you in all aspects. Hopefully you have a good jungler who can help you out, but otherwise turret-hug pretty much :/
Wait it out until late-game, your way more useful late game than Yorick is, so try your best not to feed him early on, farm up, and try to gank other lanes a lot to get your team members fed. 5/5
So basically you want to have a dominating early game, shut down your Solo-Top opponent, farm up, then start helping your team win fights. Do this by, you know, using Ice Blast when your passive is up, keeping on top of your HP with Consume, last-hitting minions, etc.
Nunu is a really fun Champion to play and get fed with, especially with a lot of AP, which is the staple of this build along with a solid Tank-Like base.
Now get out there and start throwing some snowballs soldier!!