This guide explains which items, runes, and masteries to take when playing AP Nunu. It also contains information on how to play Nunu most effectively.
I have played over 4000 games as Nunu in my many years playing League, both ranked and normal. Although I primarily play Nunu AP for fun in normal games now. I am currently ranked Diamond and have been since Season 2.
This guide has changed a lot since it was first created, and I try to keep it as up to date as possible.
I should also note that the guide is intended to appeal to as many players as possible not just those that are diamond or think they are - I want everyone to be able to appreciate Nunu - my favourite champion ever.
If you have any ideas on improving the guide, questions, or just general feedback then don't be afraid to comment!
Pros / Cons
- Strong early game and great transition to support/tank late game.
- Good lane sustain thanks to Consume.
- Strong slows and damage.
- Potential to get multi-kills if you have good timing/positioning.
- Under appreciated laner, causing people to let their guard down and make poor plays.
- Excellent at finishing/slowing enemies with his Ice Blast.
- High utility for the rest of his team with slows and buffs.
- Gains buffs from jungle camps to help him throughout the game.
- Deals massive damage to Baron/Dragon with Consume.
- Absolute Zero is easily interrupted in team fights.
- Can be difficult to solo lane against two ranged heroes.
- Absolute Zero can be hard to master.
- Can be pushed around in lane by strong ranged champions.
- Lacks late game damage.
- Can be mana hungry if you don't use passive correctly.
Teleport is helpful when solo laning so you to quickly get back to your tower. It also allows you to get around the map extremely quickly - a well placed ward can get you lots of kills and assists. For example a ward placed in a brush bot lane lets you teleport behind the enemy and using Absolute Zero when they retreat, giving you a potential double kill in the process.
Flash is almost a must for Nunu, not only because it allows you to escape ganks and flash over walls, but because it can help you cover the extra distance you may need to land that last ice ball, or position perfectly for an ultimate.
Ignite is a useful replacement for teleport, if you're not laning alone then take ignite, it's useful for those situations when your Ice Blast just doesn't do quite enough damage, allowing you to secure the kill on a fleeing enemy. It's also good when laning against champions that have heals.
I would not advise any other spells, but this is just a guide, not a strict set of rules. Really I'd advise that you find two spells that you're comfortable with and try them out.
Runes and Masteries
For runes I take magic pen and AP Quints for early game damage, AP per level to scale better as the game goes on, and armour yellows for extra strength in lane - the yellows could be swapped out for magic resistance if you're against lots of AP champions.
I take 18/12/0 to give you damage to dominate your lane and helps when last hitting creeps. The 12 in cunning helps with early game survival.
Again - try experimenting - you may find a combination that you find works better - this is only a guide it's not a set of rules.
Despite what many people think Nunu can be a really good solo laner. When his auto attacks are timed correctly Nunu can farm easily - it takes time and practice but it is doable. Use Ice Blast to harass your opponent, Consume to maintain your health and last hit creeps. I usually go back when I have enough gold for my second Doran's Ring and Boots of Speed - 790 gold. The slow from your Ice Blast can be excellent for initiating ganks and escaping ganks. If your jungler has a stun or a slow the gank a gank with this combo is very likely to be successful. It's also a good idea to use the ward from your trinket to help prevent enemy junglers ganking you.
- Nunu can be an efficient farmer if you learn his damage and practice your timing.
- Ice Blast is an excellent early game spell for harassment/escape.
The advice above applies here too, but there are a few extra tips that should be applied when laning with someone else:
- Push harder and harass more, this gets much easier once you have your second Doran's Ring.
- Use Blood Boil on your ally, an AD carry with Blood Boil can make all the difference in the world.
- Consume gives you good longevity so you can stay and hold the lane while your ally shops.
It is hard to split the game into clear and distinct sections, I would say that the mid game starts when you complete your first three main items.
Once you have these you can really start to harass your opponent. You will have good health and mana regen, you can spam Ice Blast and wear your opponents down. If you are really dominating your lane then you can roam and help other lanes by ganking. If not then continue to farm your lane until you have 1600, then you can get Needlessly Large Rod to help with your damage output.
You will want to take dragon if you can, I would say that you should aim to take the dragon at least once before the 20 minute mark - especially with the new dragon buff which benefits your entire team.
If you find that after buying Needlessly Large Rod you are not fast enough into team fights then get Sorcerer's Shoes, if you can get about okay then I would suggest finishing Rabadon's Deathcap as soon as you possibly can. If you have Rabadon's Deathcap at the 20-25 minute mark then you are doing great.
- Mid Game starts roughly when you have 2 x Doran's Ring + Boots of Speed.
- Try to take the dragon at least once before 20 minutes, if you can't that is still okay.
- Rabadon's Deathcap between 20-25 minutes and you're doing great.
It is difficult to predict how a game will play out late game, so try and adapt as best you can, practice makes perfect in most cases.
The most important aspect of late game is working well with your team mates, don't go solo into unchecked bushes, try and ward Baron Nashor and Dragon if they are not already.
Also for what I would call 'super-late game' 45 minutes+ it is really down to team work and team composition.
Late game is all about adapting to your enemies team build and strategies - this comes with practice and hard work.
- Warding is underrated not only can it give you an easy kill it also protects Nashor and Dragon, and in many cases stops you and your team mates from being ganked.
- Don't be afraid to defend it's better to hug the tower and not die than feed your enemy.
- Team work is key, always be aware of your team and what they are doing! The mini-map is there for a reason.
- Don't get angry at yourself/team mates, we all have bad games even the highest elo players in the world have loss streaks, it's about pushing on through and learning from your mistakes.
- If a team mate is flaming ignore them by typing '/ignore [Player name here]'.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. If that doesn't work - practice some more!
Adapting for Success
This is where you can mix the build up depending on how things are going, many of us will play hundreds of games on LoL, no two are quite the same. This is why it's important to remain flexible with your build depending on who you're playing against.
If you are having trouble farming then get a Ancient Coin.
If the enemy team is crowd control intensive and AP heavy (they have lots of stuns and slows) then take Mercury's Treads instead of Sorcerer's Shoes.
If they are stunning and AD heavy then I would suggest still taking Sorcerer's Shoes but getting Ancient Coin in place of the second Doran's Ring and then upgrading it to Talisman of Ascension towards the late game.
Most importantly: Use your own judgement, there are thousands of combinations of teams on LoL, do your best to judge what will best counter the enemies specific team. As I have said before this is a guide not a strict set of rules, the more you play the better you will get! (Hopefully).
I have loved playing Nunu ever since I started League - I hope this guide helps you love Nunu as much as I do.
If you have any feedback do not hesitate to add me in game or comment below, I am always trying to improve the guide, and the way I play so your comments will be appreciated.
Updated the item build and made some revisions to the text to take into account the recent buffs to Nunu that happened in patch 6.20. Enjoy :)
Edited the item build as to have a better late game.
Added a short 'Runes and Masteries' section.
Extended the friends and enemies section. (I will do this more in the future.)
Added 'Change Log'.
Added 'Your Videos' section.
Fixed some details
Changed the mastery tree for Season 2.
Updated Mastery tree, now uses summoner insight
Updated the Rylai's Scepter question.
Added a short section on recent buffs.
Redone Masteries and Item build for Season 3
Added a new Video in Tips section.
Will be updating the other Videos soon.
Updated the Video Guide for Season 3.
Re-worded large sections of the guide to make things clearer.
Changed the order of the Chapters.
Changed runes from Mana per level to flat Armour
Added information on changes to Nunu's consume in the 'regarding buffs' section.
Updated the item section.
Removed Bulwark and updated item set.
Re-wrote and updated every chapter.
Removed Video Guide chapters - these will be updated at a later date.
Changed the item build for the new season.
Updated Masteries and Items for Season 6 - will update written segments soon.
Updated items and some descriptions based on feedback received. More to come soon. :)