Nunu Build Guide by Mr. Nyahr
Not Updated For Current Season
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Snowballing Your Team
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.
Threats to Nunu with this build
|Miss Fortune||Honestly, Miss Fortune is one of the least threatening AD carries in my opinion, and as long as you dont sit in her abilities, you should be fine. Keep her in combat if you can to keep her passive down.|
Hi, I'm Mr. Nyahr, and this is the first MOBAFire guide that I've done. I've played League since just a few months before Season 3 started, and I've spent a large amount of my time learning to play top and support. Nunu is a walking mountain of awesome if you know how to utilize him to his fullest potential. He brings great poke and CC with his Ice Blast, amazing lane pressure via his Blood Boil, and a great way of helping secure objectives with his Consume. He also brings quite a lot to team fights by way of stacking buffs and debuffs, and his ult, Absolute Zero is devastating if used correctly. Hopefully I can help you learn or refine your play with Nunu, as he is one of my favorite supports, and in the right hands can be a huge force in games. So, let's get started!
Pros / Cons
As with any champion, Nunu has his pros and his cons. The important thing is to focus on accentuating the pros and mitigating the cons however possible.
-Very easy to learn and play.
-Strong slows with Ice Blast.
-Excellent poke and sustain in lane with Ice Blast and Consume.
- Absolute Zero packs a punch.
-Great objective control with Consume, as it is effectively a low-cooldown Smite.
-Bulky, and carries buff items well.
-BFFs with Caitlyn and Vayne.
-Nunu Bot laugh makes people /ff.
-Mana hungry without passive. (Low mana pool and high mana-cost for abilities.)
-Low damage overall.
-Poor scaling into the later game.
- Absolute Zero can be hard to use effectively since it halts movement, and can be interrupted.
100% of the time, you will take Flash. This is vital for many reasons, such as securing objectives, securing kills, escaping ganks, setting up/engaging team fights, etc. Take it.
This is one of the strongest tools that a support can have. It's very simple, but carries with it a lot of utility. It can slow down enemies to allow a kill in lane, or to help peel their ADC off of your ADC or yourself and survive to fight another day. Exhaust slows both movement speed and attack speed, so dropping this on the enemy ADC in a team fight severely drops their effectiveness in the fight, and forces them to play very cautiously or risk dying to your teammates. I almost always take Exhaust.
Ignite can be very good situationally, as it provides a good amount of pressure when used correctly, and helps counter healing supports and potions while you're going for a kill in lane. Although I most commonly take Flash and Exhaust, there are plenty of situations in which Ignite would be viable. Say for example you're laning against a Sona or Nami, their heals will eventually get to be quite annoying. Going in for the kill, you don't want to risk them surviving and turning the fight around on you because of a little bit of health, so Ignite would help immensely just to make sure you've got them. This is especially nice against comps with an ADC who doesn't excel in the early game and doesn't have a ton of mobility, as that reduces the need for Exhaust.
If you're feeling a bit odd, you can also try out Heal, Cleanse, Clarity or Teleport, but I don't recommend these. Stick to your Flash/Exhaust combo and you'll be golden. (Although your ADC should probably run Heal or Cleanse).
The runes I'm showing in this guide are geared toward early game presence in lane. The extra armor from the Quints, Marks and Seals is quite impactful, as the less damage you take from poke, the better. The MR Glyphs just help add a bit more bulk to your build in the early game, which can give you a slight edge in laning. Taking flat MR over scaling MR Glyphs is preferable, as the 12 boost to MR in the beginning can make a decent amount of difference in the damage you take from poke coming from the enemy support and possibly their jungler. The scaling Glyphs just aren't strong enough late game to warrant using them, as the extra 15 MR is only 3/5 of a Merc Treads. It's important to stay alive to protect your ADC, and that's hard to do when you're low or dead.
This is a standard 0/21/9 support build, which obviously focuses on damage reduction. Being able to soak damage is a huge aspect of playing Nunu, as you're going to be up close and personal most of the match, and taking skill shots meant for your carries. Your bulk directly translates to the amount of time in which you will be able to provide help to your team, via buffs, debuffs, slows, your ult, etc. Reinforced Armor is very nice, as when their ADC gets damage on you, you need to mitigate as much of it as possible, especially when they crit. However, again some teams, you will need to worry more about AP-based poke than crits. In these situations, you will take Evasive instead, but keep the rest of your points the same. The sustain brought from having Alchemist and Culinary Master help a lot in the early game, and Summoner's Insight gives you more opportunities to use your Exhaust and Flash. This is always a plus. Take Phasewalker and Fleet of Foot so you have less time out of lane.
Nunu's passive is one of the defining aspects of the champion, and it is absolutely vital that you keep in mind the importance of managing it. Every time you land an auto-attack, you gain 1 stack of the buff. At 5 stacks, your next spell cast become costs no mana. This is hugely important, as Nunu's spells are very costly, and he has a very small mana pool. Make sure to keep his passive stacked as high as you can at all times, and try to be at 4 or 5 stacks before engaging an enemy. This passive synergizes perfectly with Relic Shield, as since you'll be hitting creeps to gain charges anyway, you will have many opportunities to execute them for the extra gold. It is worth noting that your ADC letting you execute cannon minions for the bonus gold is a nice income boost for you.
Q, W, and E
Nunu's Q, Consume is a very situational ability. It's not terrible in lane, but both your W and E take precedence over it until the Mid-Game. However, for early objectives, this is a major ability to have, as it is effectively a low-cooldown version of Smite that heals you, which takes a nice chunk out of Dragon, or a buff if you're giving a leash. This gives you an alright way of sustaining yourself in lane, but with potions and your passive available, it's better to save your mana for other abilities. I max this ability last, with points at levels; 5, 14, 15, 17, and 18.
Nunu's W, Blood Boil, is one of the strongest buffs in the game for your ADC. The buff to both movement and attack speed make a world of difference in any situation. It can be used as as escape tool, by way of speeding yourselves up to avoid a gank. It can also be used aggressively, as the speed buff will allow you to chase down enemies, and the attack speeds allows you to melt them even faster. Throw this on allies to reduce towers to rubble in a matter of seconds. It goes without saying that this should always be applied to your ADC. Make correct use of this ability, and your games will become much easier. I max this ability second, with points at levels; 2, 4, 8, 10, and 13.
Nunu's E, Ice Blast, is his signature ability. It's your bread and butter, giving you excellent harrass as well as a powerful slow. However, this is Nunu's most expensive ability as well, eventually even surpassing the cost of his ultimate; Absolute Zero. Thus, it is in your best interest to stack your passive up to 5 stacks for a free E each time you need to cast it. Sometimes using it with no stacks is unavoidable, but keep in mind that it is very costly to do so. I max this ability first, with points at levels; 1, 3, 7, 9, and 12.
Nunu's ultimate, Absolute Zero, is the most difficult ability in his kit to use to it's full potential. It creates a large circle around him which slows enemies over a few seconds, at the end of which an icy explosion occurs, dealing massive damage to all enemies caught inside. This damage is directly proportional to the amount of time you spent casting it, and the use of this ability halts your movement while channeling. If you move, the channeling stops, and the spell will detonate early, for less damage. This also applies to enemies displacing you. If an enemy knocks you up or back, pulls you, or uses any other manner of displacement or silence effect, your ult will be cancelled and only deal partial damage. This ability is obviously most effective when there are multiple enemy champions clustered together. Using this in the center of the enemy team will force them to run or CC you, else take immense damage, which gives your team a massive opening to lay into them. This can be difficult to place and master, but using things such as Flash, Exhaust, and Randuin's Omen can help keep enemies from escaping you while ulting. I max this ability as soon as the game allows, with points at levels; 6, 11, and 16.
Okay, so here's the meat of the build: the items. How and when you build your items is a large portion of what determines your effectiveness in the game. If you play well and get built up quickly, you become a nightmare for the enemy team, but if you're behind, you should play it safe until later when you can add some more bulk.
Oh, Relic Shield. This item is made for Nunu, seriously. It gives you the bulk you need, a nice form of gold generation, and a passive that synergizes PERFECTLY with Nunu's own passive. You're going to be tapping away at minions to build stacks for free spells (Nunu is a mana-hungry bastard without the passive), so while you're doing that, you're going to have plenty of opportunities to get the execute gold from creeps. If you can, ensure that your ADC lets you last-hit cannon minions for the bonus gold. This bad-boy also upgrades into Face of the Mountain, which gives a truckload of benefits, including health, CDR, and a wonderful shield for team fight engages. It's everything you could ask for on Nunu, buy it.
Honestly, if you're thinking about playing support, Sightstone should automatically pop into your head. Vision is king in this game, especially in laning phase to prevent ganks throwing your lane. You should absolutely always pick this up, as maintaining vision on dragon and river can make a world of difference, and allow your jungler to get pretty far ahead by taking confident early dragons. The health is also a nice bonus, especially once you upgrade it to Ruby Sightstone later in the match.
Locket of the Iron Solari is arguably my favorite support item in the game right now. It's got health, it's got MR, it's got CDR, AND it's got a team MR buff. As if that wasn't enough, you can throw down a nice little shield on your entire team when a fight breaks out, which can end up soaking a ton of damage over the course of a game. This item is incredibly good, and I always pick it up even if their AP is pretty weak, as it just helps shut them out even more.
Randuin's Omen is a force to be reckoned with in team fights. The natural bulk from the armor and health make you that much harder to kill, and you slowing down the attack speed of their ADC will give your bruisers a lot more time to dive to the back line and nuke them. The main aspect of this item, however, is the amazing active. In the right situation, you can slow their entire team by 35%, which is more than enough time to obliterate their carries and push them back to hide, or to catch and eliminate runners while you spam your Nunu Bot laugh.
You should know when GA needs to happen. It's late game, both teams are in a strong position, and you need to win this next team fight to secure the win. But you can't do that if everyone dies and goes on a 60-second respawn timer. Your answer? Guardian Angel. The armor and MR will help you survive a little bit longer in those crucial fights in order to deliver your CC and team buffs, and the active will just bring you back into the fray to spam /laugh when the enemy team is broken and your ADC is still going strong.
Easily one of the best defensive items in the game, Frozen Heart is a must-have if you're going against an AD-heavy comp. The 100 armor and attack speed debuff aura will put a serious damper on the damage their ADC can put out, which is nothing but good for you. The lack of health but presence of high armor is also very strong against ADCs who rush Blade of the Ruined King, where Randuin's Omen would be weaker. In addition, it gives an immense amount of CDR, so more buffs and more snowballs for everyone! Also mana, because Nunu burns through mana like it's going out of style.
Do they have a Nidalee? Do they have troublesome CC? Does AP make you cry? Well then buy Banshee's Veil. It's very easy to know when to buy, and it can be used to soak skillshots that would cripple your ADC/APC. Obviously a very good item, and not much explanation needed.
I personally don't like Mikael's Crucible all that much, but I can't debate its effectiveness. The removal of CC from your ADC can be a life saver in lane, and can turn the tide of a fight. The heal and MR are also nice, and the CDR is lovely. Get this item if the enemy team has a lot of single-target CC abilities (Think Fiddlesticks or Leona).
There's something about Iceborn Gauntlet that just feels fun every time I get to buy it. This gives you some delicious armor, ability power, CDR, AND a huge chunk of mana. This mana is amazing for Nunu with his high mana costs. In addition, the AoE slow from the passive effect is very nice. When you're going in to hit someone, with a snowball or just a buffed auto attack, you get a free Sheen proc on your next melee hit that does an AoE slow, giving you even more control over fights. Take this item if they have a very mobile team, and you need some armor.
ONLY TAKE THIS IF YOU DON'T HAVE LOCKET
Banner of Command is such a fun item to run on Nunu support. It gives a good amount of AP to help chunk people with your snowballs, and some CDR to boot. The active makes one of your lane minions incredibly strong, which puts a lot of pressure on whichever lane you use this on. This can give a major advantage, either by way of downing towers or having an enemy go destroy it while you push mid or take objectives. The aura,however, is the same as the one given by Locket of the Iron Solari as they build out of the same item, so ONLY get this item if you do not have your Locket of the Iron Solari yet, and you're in a situation where pushing lanes is more beneficial than the health and team shield.
Mercury's Treads are the obvious choice if you're against a lane with a lot of CC such as Leona, Thresh, Nami, etc. The MR is just a nice bonus tossed in on the side.
Boots of Swiftness can be a game changer. If they have a lot of slows, or they have high-mobility champions, these can allow you to land a snowball or exhaust for your team to capitalize on. Certainly a very strong option for Nunu, as it allows you to more easily and swiftly place your ult.
I don't commonly take Ninja Tabi, as I feel like Boots of Swiftness are just better overall. That being said, if the enemy team's AD is terrifying, they're certainly a good choice. Just use your best judgement.
Use your best judgement for enchants. I prefer Captain for team fights, but alacrity is also nice, and Homeguard can obviously be very useful in the late game.
Trinkets and Consumables
Taking Warding Totem at the start of the match is vital, make sure to grab it, but the moment that you buy your Sightstone, you should automatically switch over to Sweeping Lens to clear their wards. Once you've bought your Sightstone, yellow trinket is useless to you, so don't even bother, just grab your red trinket and be on your way.
All throughout the game, you will be warding as the support. It is one of your earliest and most powerful tools in the game, and can have a drastic effect on the outcome of the game. Vision allows you and your team to know where the enemies are, and more importantly, where they are not. This knowledge allows you to make informed decisions on whether to make a play, stay safe, base, push lanes or objectives, etc. Never underestimate the power of vision in this game. At the start of the match, you're always going to want to grab a Warding Totem, as you don't have the luxury of a level 1 Sightstone. This will be used until your first purchase, which should include your Sightstone. Once this has been purchased, you will trade in your Warding Totem for a Sweeping Lens to help clear their wards. Denying enemy vision is just as important as having vision yourself, so clearing their wards is a must. Another reason for this trade is that once you have your Sightstone, you will no longer need your Warding Totem, and when you do need to clear wards, you can just use your Sweeping Lens or pick up a Vision Ward.
The placement of your wards is VERY important to the success of your team. 90% of your wards will be placed in bushes, so that enemies hiding in them will be unveiled, as well as to hide your Vision Wards from view. During the laning phase, you will place one of your wards in the closest bush to you in the river. Be sure to place this ward as far away into the river (but still inside the bush (your cursor will stay green inside bushes)) to allow for maximum vision range. Other spots to ward are the tribush near your tower (if enemies are pushing) or the tribush near their tower (if you're pushing). Additionally, if enemies are hiding a lot in the lane bushes or have mechanics that give them bonuses in brush, you can place a ward in any of the lane brush to prevent them from getting the jump on you.
Mid-Game and Later
During the Mid-Game and later, your control of objectives is crucial for your team. Keeping the Dragon, Buffs, and eventually Baron warded will ensure that your team can secure these, as well as deny the enemy team from doing so. Warding jungle buffs is more of a jungler concern, but if you are going to, place the wards in the brush right next to the monster so that enemies coming to take it will be revealed. For Dragon, wards at the back of the bowl or outside in the jungle brush surrounding are very strong, as they provide the most vision. Be sure to use your Sweeping Lens and/or Vision Wards to clear enemy vision of objectives. Wards near the mouth of Dragon pit aren't as important as they used to be since the introduction of the Rift Scuttler, which places a free ward in front of Dragon or Baron for the team that kills it. For Baron, warding is the exact same as for Dragon, but you should also try and get your team to help ward to be sure. Keep in mind that enemies can see your stealth wards for a moment after they are placed, which lets them know that you have vision there, and may allow them to clear your wards.
Keep in mind that certain champions such as Lee Sin benefit immensely from properly placed wards.
Laning phase is one of the areas in which Nunu shines. He offers so much early pressure with the harass from his Ice Blast and the immense speed and pressure from his Blood Boil onto the ADC. During laning, try and play as safe as possible until level 2 while still trying to stack your passive to 5. If you can last hit cannon minions, be sure to, as the bonus gold is very helpful. At level two, you can be a little more liberal with your harass, because your Blood Boil can help you and your carry escape back to tower. Get your Sightstone ASAP, and try to work on your Face of the Mountain, and just generally play safe.
When your jungler comes in to gank, don't be afraid to flash to secure a kill via Ice Blast or Exhaust, or even your ult. Every bit of pressure helps. When pushing towers, remember to constantly keep Blood Boil applied to your ADC for the attack speed. Some strong lane partners would be Vayne, Caitlyn, and Kog'Maw, as his slows allow them to easily land their skill shots. Be sure, as always, to keep your vision up, and ward Dragon whenever possible. Take as little poke as you can, while always trying to punish the enemy ADC for walking up to farm. Get your passive stacked up and Ice Blast the ADC to get some damage on them when they try to last-hit. This will give you a lot of pressure and make the enemy wary of farming. Never let them farm for free if you can deny them with relative safety.
If they push the lane into your tower, ensure that you have enough mana and health to take a swing at them, as this is the perfect time to go on the offensive. Blood Boil your ADC and Ice Blast theirs (Support if you can't reach the ADC). This will allow your ADC to open up on them, getting some nice damage and potentially a kill.
If their jungler comes in to gank your lane while you're pushing the lane, Blood Boil your ADC and Ice Blast whichever enemy poses the most threat to your carry, using Exhaust if needed to prevent a successful gank. Try to stay alive yourself, running back under tower for protection, but it is better for you to die than your carry if it comes to it.
As of 5.8 Nunu's health per level is being brought down slightly, so keep this in mind when taking poke.
Mid to Late Game/Team Fights
In the mid game, Nunu is at a weird spot. You need to get bulky as fast as you can, so make sure to stick to other people like glue, you'll need the help. You will be VERY important when it comes to securing dragons and barons, as your Consume is a free Smite. You're also leading into the phase of the game in which team fights tend to start breaking out. This is where you're going to put in some work. Once you're bulky, you're going to be disrupting the enemy team, that's your job. Exhaust the ADC, get your buffs and debuffs going, poke with your Ice Blast, and keep your ADC buffed with Blood Boil. When you get in the right position, you can do any manner of things, such as flash-ulting into the middle of their team, using Randuin's Omen to slow them, and your Locket of the Iron Solari for the team shield. Your CC and buffs will make an immense difference, and will help pull your team into the lead. Nothing is scarier than being an ADC and getting perma-slowed by Nunu while their team charges after you. Make sure that you're always the front line, so that you can soak up harmful CC and damaging abilities that would otherwise lock down or hurt your carries, thus denying your enemies an opening for a fight.
While roaming (preferably with a carry), be sure to keep the other person buffed with Blood Boil to give both of you a large movement speed buff. If you're alone roaming to another lane, this can be cast on yourself. Since you have your Face of the Mountain, be sure to kill cannon minions for the extra gold, while the other person clears the rest of them. Once you're actively hitting the tower (or other objective), be sure that Blood Boil is ALWAYS active on the other person, as the attack speed buff makes for swift tower killing.
If you're getting low after said push, make sure to go eat a minion before you roam away/back. If people come to intercept you during this push, you're going to want to peel for your carry, as their life is more valuable than yours. Be sure to Ice Blast the enemy and Blood Boil the ally, just like in lane when the enemy jungler ganks. Try to run back to a safe place, such as base, under a lane tower, or into your team. If multiple enemies come and surround you, it may be in your best interest to use your Absolute Zero to ensure your teammate's safely. This will slow all affected enemies, as well as doing a large amount of damage if completed.
So here's where you're going to be focusing a lot of your effort this game. This is the part in which you can be the star player for your team. Before initiations, be sure to stand in front of your carries, as previously mentioned, in order to dissuade engages and soak abilities from the other team. When your team is ready, you can do multiple things. The first of these is to create an opening. To do this, wait until you can catch an enemy off guard or they make a mistake, then attempt to run into/cc one of their carries (preferably the ADC) and proceed to annoy them. The other option is to make your own opening. Use things such as Absolute Zero, Ice Blast, Randuin's Omen, Locket of the Iron Solari, and Exhaust to cripple their team, which bolstering your own. Be absolutely sure that your ADC is affected by your Blood Boil during fights.
If done successfully, you will create a hole in their line, and put a lot of pressure onto their carries and support, forcing them to A) try to fight an uphill battle, or B) reposition and try to reset the fight. If they try to fight, you should have the upper hand, just maintain your control over the fight with your CC, and do your best to stay alive. If they try to run away, do your best to lock down/slow them with your Exhaust, Ice Blast, and/or your items that are off cooldown. This will enable your team to pick off those that lagged behind, giving you the momentum to secure objectives and possibly push for the win.
Conclusion & Thoughts
To wrap this up, just keep in mind that Nunu is a support, not a carry. You cannot 1v5 the enemy team, and 95% of the time, you can't 1v1 unless it's the enemy support. Stay with your team, as you're going to be the backbone of the whole operation. Play safe and play smart, but don't be so afraid to die that you make no plays at all. It's very dangerous to try and take objectives by your lonesome (excluding dragon). Nunu isn't a very difficult champion to perform well with, but there are things you have to pay attention to, just like with anyone else. I appreciate you taking the time to read this guide, and I certainly hope it was of some help to you. If you have any questions or other feedback, don't hesitate to let me know!
-Special thanks to MissMaw for their assistance on improving this guide.