Nunu Build Guide by Scarlet2friends
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.
Hello Community, welcome to my first guide. While this is for personal use, I would like comments and constructive criticism to help make me a better player. And of course it would be great if this guide grew and became useful to other users out there. I have only just started Jungling with Nunu and only played a few Normal games before that as Lane Nunu. However I mostly play Jungle champions and Nunu is fast finding that special place in my heart as one of my favorites. If you love the Jungle or are just getting started, I hope you you'll find my Jungle Nunu as fun as I have.
A huge shout out to Dorian182, whose guide has heavily influenced the way I play Nunu.
Dorian182's guide can be found here.
Also a big thanks to the members of Mobafire for guides on how to get started making guides(jhoijhoi) and just some great guides(LaCorpse, PsiGuard) in general to draw inspiration from.
Just for jhoijhoi, thanks for the help and resources.
P.S. I know this is largely a WIP so please don't vote it down until its gone through a few changes. Rather comment so i can adapt the guide as necessary.
And I'm back! Miss me? I've been farming up my Runes, including a 24 hour binge this past weekend during the double IP boost. Big thanks to Riot for that. I got all my Runes, so now you will be seeing more of me on Mobafire! :D 27/10/2012
27/09/2012 - "Runes" Section added
27/09/2012 - "Masteries" Section added
28/09/2012 - "Pros / Cons" Section added
28/09/2012 - Overhauled the guide after reading jhoijhoi's "Making A Guide"
29/09/2012 - "Summoner Spells" Section added
29/09/2012 - "Skill Sequence" Section added
29/09/2012 - "Items" Section added
30/09/2012 - Removed Regrowth Pendant from possible starting items
01/10/2012 - Updated main build: Swapped Catalyst the protector with Heart of Gold
01/10/2012 - Added "Testing" builds
11/10/2012 - Added "Summary" Section
11/10/2012 - Edited "Runes" - Added details on my new Rune selection
27/10/2012 - Edit main build Runes
Pros / Cons
+ Strong start in Jungle
+ Great Counter-Jungler
+ Free spell every 5 basic attacks
+ Self heal
+ Nice utility buff
+ Powerful slow; Doubles up as a great nuke
+ Massively powerful AOE Ultimate
- Consume only works on creeps
- Absolute Zero can easily be canceled
- Channeling Absolute Zero can make you the main target
Greater Mark of Ability Power
Greater Seal of Attack Speed
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
So with the Runes I decided to try hit all the bases with this Champion. Here's a run down of my Rune Sheet.
- To start I went with a full set of ability power Marks.
9x Greater Mark of Ability Power
I want enemy Champions to feel Nunu's presence when he comes out of Jungle for a gank. The best way I figured was for Ice Blast to hurt hard. More AP, more pain.
- Next up I use a full set of attack speed Seals.
9x Greater Seal of Attack Speed
I want Nunu to have a strong start in Jungle and he certainly does not need help in this endeavor. However I wanted to take full advantage of his passive, Visionary.
Visionary: Nunu can cast a spell for free after 5 attacks.
Using AS Seals I can quickly complete the cycle of 5 attacks to get my free spell.
- Next I decided that early game Nunu is quite hardy, but by mid game he's already feeling the heat. Nothing sucks harder than being burst down in a few seconds so slap on some magic resistance per level Glyphs.
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
I know some people have a problem with per level runes, so here's a quick explanation using simple math.
9x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist = 12.06 flat magic resistance.
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist = 1.35 magic resistance per level.
With per level Glyphs by the time you reach level 9 you will have 12.15 MR. Round about level 9 is when you should be transitioning into the mid game phase, and this is when you will really start needing the MR. With flat runes being over taken at this point it seems fairly pointless to be choosing flat MR Glyphs.
- Finally the Quintessences come up and with my Masteries forsaking the Utility Tree I decided Nunu needs some movement speed.
3x Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Nunu clears creep camps with amazing speed, but all this is to waste if his time between camps is lengthened by his slow movement speed, I want Nunu to be in and out of his jungle, ganking and counter-jungling as fast as possible. I do this with movement speed Quints.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Seal of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
For those of you who were observant, you would of noticed under test 1 I changed the Runes. Lets break it down, and have look at these two sets of Runes.
- 9x Greater Mark of Attack Speed
I changed the Marks to attack speed as these give a greater ratio than the seals.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed = 1.7% AS/Mark ~ 15.3% AS
Greater Seal of Attack Speed = 0.76% AS/Seal ~ 6.84% AS
- 9x Greater Seal of Scaling Magic Resist
Unfortunately these Seals are not as strong as the MR Glyphs, however they are the next best.
Greater Seal of Scaling Magic Resist = 0.1(1.8 at 18) MR/Seal ~ 0.9(16.2 at 18) MR
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist = 0.15(2.7 at 18) MR/Glyph ~ 1.35(24.3 at 18)
- 9x Greater Glyph of Ability Power
These Glyphs give a greater ratio than the Marks,, so here's where the AP will be.
Greater Glyph of Ability Power = 1.2 AP/Glyph ~ 10.8 AP
Greater Mark of Ability Power = 0.59 AP/Mark ~ 5.31 AP
- 3x Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
No change here, same movement speed Quints.
I originally started Nunu with a Utility setup, but when I moved to Jungle the Utility setup just wasn't going to cut it. So I changed up my Masteries for a more powerful presence in Jungle and early ganks. I decided to go with a major in Defense and a minor in Offense. Using the movement speed Quints allowed me to easily depart from the Utility build and jump right in with the Defense build. Here's the rundown.
- 4 points into
This gives me an early boost of 4 AP, no complaints here.
- 4 points into
4% CD reduction? Thank you very much.
- 1 point into
10% Mpen, that's going hurt when you come out of Jungle.
- 1 point into
Upgrades my Smite so I get 10 extra gold every time I use it, for one point this is amazing.
- 1 point into
and 2 into
This is up to you, the MR Glyphs should cover you nicely so I prefer to drop the extra point into Hardiness for armor.
- 2 points into
Reduces damage taken from creeps and monsters, for a Jungler this is almost always a must.
- 4 points into
and 1 into
Some health and more health. A Jungler is his own tank, and with the burden of early ganks a Jungler can always use more health.
- 2 points into
Reduces incoming damage by 2, doesnt sound like a lot, it is a lot.
- 1 point into
Returns damage to minions and monsters that attack you....take that you pesky wolves !
- 3 points into
3% faster movement speed when Nunu has more than 70% health. This is great because Nunu loses almost no health through Jungle. You'll be popping out for your first gank in no time at all.
- 3 points into
More damage reduction...woohoo! 1.5% damage reduction. All this damage reduction can save your life when you start channeling Absolute Zero and suddenly everyone has it in for you.
- 1 point into
Why? Cause I'm the Juggernaut! But really, more health as well as some Tenacity to reduce disables, perfect.
- Smite: Number one must have Summoner Spell for a Jungler, don't leave home without it.
- Flash: The versatility of the spell opens up so many plays and maneuvers that playing without it leaves me feeling claustrophobic. Whether it's flashing over a wall to escape a gank, flashing closer to secure a kill, or even flashing into the middle of an enemy team, channeling Absolute Zero and popping Zhonya's Hourglass before they kill you allowing your team to swoop in and clean them up, this spell gives you so many options.
- Ghost: If you're looking for a faster Jungle route, chasing or escaping this spell is good for an extra movement speed boost. Keep in mind that I haven't spent a point on upgrading this spell in the Masteries.
- Teleport: Great for a Top Solo player, but I've never liked this spell on a Jungler. However if it suits your play style it enables you to set up powerful ganks and even secure kills.
- Exhaust: Here is another great spell. Can stop that enemy from escaping, can stop a champion from getting away from Absolute Zero, and can even debuff a powerful enemy Champion in team fights. Not bad at all.
- Clairvoyance: Do not underestimate the utility of this spell. Although usually found on the Support Champion, this spell can give you strong map control, help prevent ganks, and also set up ganks. It's especially useful when used in conjunction with wards.
- Ignite: Ignite is great for a number of reasons, securing a kill, great harass, nasty debuff, but for a Jungler it's just all wrong. Frankly there are better spells for the Jungler that help with ganks and kill securing. I do not recommend this spell. Also keep in mind that I haven't spent a point on upgrading this spell in the Masteries.
- Surge: While Surge synergizes well with this build for early Jungle, even well before the Mid Game phase it's usefulness is completely used up.
- Cleanse: Cleanse isn't a bad spell, however it's not going to let you continue Absolute Zero after you get stunned. I find this spell wanting on an AP Nunu, great for tanks though.
- Heal: This spell can mean the difference between life and death and completing your channel. That doesn't mean it makes the cut, as with Ignite, there are just better spells to be chosen.
- Clarity: Clarity equals AOE mana replenishment, Jungle equals alone, and Visionary equals a free spell every 5 basic attacks. The latter two make the first almost useless on Nunu. Don't waste your time on this spell.
- Revive: If you're dying too much, a summoner spell that brings you back just to die again isn't going to help anyone...except the enemy of course. Good for tanks, not so much for AP Nunu.
- Garrison: I'm sure there's towers in your Jungle somewhere, you just got to look harder. Seriously, this spell is just pointless for a Jungler, don't choose it.
- Promote: Pity you can't promote yourself...don't waste your time, no allied creeps in the Jungle.
- Barrier: What? This spell doesn't even work on a map with trees.
I'm still busy testing the item build, as well as situational items, but here's what I currently use and a few situationals.
- So to start in Jungle I buy Boots of Speed and 3x Health Potions. As you know by now I put huge emphasis on fast Jungle times. The quicker you get through your Jungle, the better chances of keeping up your level and having strong ganks before the enemy Jungler.
- Another common start for Jungle is Cloth Armor and 5x Health Potions. I don't recommend this for Nunu because he has such great sustain. However, if you feel early ganks will require you to be a bit more tanky and you don't mind sacrificing some movement speed, then this is for you. [To Be Tested]
- Starting with a Doran's Ring in Jungle is a little unorthodox, but with mana regen, some AP and some health, Doran's Ring could be a powerful start at the loss of some movement speed. [To Be Tested]
- You can also start with a Ruby Crystal if you want to rush a Heart of Gold or Catalyst the Protector. Though losing movement speed, you will be a little more beefy to start. [To Be Tested]
- Currently I rush Catalyst the Protector for great sustain. Later building it into Banshee's Veil.
- I am strongly considering Philosopher's Stone over Catalyst the Protector due to it's equally great sustain and Gp10 passive. [To Be Tested]
- An alternative Gp10 item to aim for is Heart of Gold. A nice early boost to health means you can take focus in ganks better. [To Be Tested]
- Yet another Gp10 item i suggest is Frostfang. An early boost to your AP and the Gp10 passive makes this item a viable choice. However you will see I did not suggest starting with Amplifying Tome and rushing this item. The reason being Amplifying Tome gives you no sustain for your first Jungle route. [To Be Tested]
Heart of Gold: 27 minutes, 30 seconds to pay for itself (5 minutes, 30 seconds for the Gold Making part).
Avarice Blade: 25 minutes to pay for itself (5 minutes for the Gold Making part).
Philosopher's Stone: 26 minutes, 40 seconds to pay for itself (less than nothing for the Gold Making part!!).
- I usually buy Sorcerer's Shoes for the magic penetration, which helps make my ganks hurt a little more. Sorcerer's Shoes are especially useful if the enemy team is already trying to build up so magic resistance.
- Mercury's Treads are a good buy to help defend against AP casters who are strong early game. The true gem of Mercury's Treads is rather in it's Tenacity passive. Tenacity reduces the effectiveness of those pesky disables, which will come in handy in ganks against Champions with escape mechanisms.
- I do not fully agree with buying Ninja Tabi, however if you started with Cloth Armor and are facing a lot of incoming physical damage, you will find Ninja Tabi very useful. Not forgetting Ninja Tabi's passive which can help you survive being focused down during Absolute Zero. [To Be Tested]
- Boots of Swiftness and Boots of Mobility both give you lots of movement speed, and if you feel you need to be ganking more often and Counter-Jungling as well as looking after your own Jungle, you may want to try these to help you as you roam. [To Be Tested]
- The 'Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am' item, Rabadon's Deathcap, there is not a single player who doesn't love this item. This item gives more satisfaction than puching the school bully in the face and getting away with it. Get the Needlessly Large Rod and finish off the recipe ASAP.
- Rod of Ages is a great item offering nice amount of AP, HP and mana, as well as a nice passive. If you started with the Catalyst the Protector then Rod of Ages is a viable buy. But be sure to follow up with Rabadon's Deathcap ASAP. [To Be Tested]
- When Rylai's Crystal Scepter sits firmly in the hands of this cold beast, his icy chill has an even greater effect! Great AP, a chunk of health, and a passive that turns Ice Blast into your foes worst nightmare. Yes it stacks, the slow stacks, and that's all you need to know about this item.
- If you are facing heavy AP damage, and if Absolute Zero is getting canceled too easily, you might want to get Banshee's Veil ahead of schedule. If you kept your Catalyst the Protector, then it will easy to grab before completing Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
Q: Do slows stack?
A: No item will stack with itself. Only one "item slow" can be active at a time, and it's the largest one. Item slows include Phage, Trinity Force, Frozen Mallet, and Rylai's Crystal Scepter. However, these will stack with other slow effects, like Nunu's Ice Blast, Ashes Frost Arrow or any other slow in the game.
However, stacking slows is far from additive. There are soft caps on how much your speed can be hasted or slowed, so usually applying multiple slow effects to a target often won't result in a huge speed decrease past the first one.
- If the enemy team is stacking magic resistance, Void Staff is your friend. +40% Magic penetration and more AP, that's going to leave a scar.
- If you don't want to get Mercury Treads but still need the Tenacity, there are two items for you to look at. Elesa's Miracle and Moonflair Spellblade, both offering the same 35 Tenacity as Mercury Treads. Elesa's Miracle is cheap and can be built from your Philosopher's Stone if you bought one. Elesa's Miracle does fall off late game as it doesn't provide a whole lot. Moonflair Spellblade has some AP to offer, but I'm sure many will agree, this item needs a buff. Please note that Tenacity does not stack.
- If you need some more magic resistance there are a few items that can help, here are three. Lich Bane is a great item if you don't need too much magic resistance, it offers more AP, some Mana and more movement speed. Lich Bane also has a useful passive that adds your AP to your next basic attack after casting an ability. Note that if you conserve mana you likely will not proc this passive often. Abyssal Scepter provides a nice lump sum of magic resistance, another nice dollop of AP, and a passive that reduces enemy magic resistance. If your team has two or more AP Champions, consider getting this anyway.
- Guardian Angel offers a balance of armor and magic resistance, as well as a passive that will revive you a few seconds after death. Note that the passive has a large cooldown.
- If you are in need of more armor to defend against those AD Champions, Frozen Heart and Zhonya's Hourglass are here to offer a hand. Frozen Heart is your go to item against high attack speed AD carrys, offering 99 armor, 500 mana and a passive that slows attack speed of enemy Champions in a large radius. This is an AD carry's bane. Zhonya's Hourglass offers 50 armor, a whopping 100 AP and a active ability that gives you invulnerability for 2.5 seconds. Please note that Zhonya's active is channeling and will cancel Absolute Zero(Aaaaw, dammit).
- If you feel you just need to be more tank and you seem to be taking the brunt of the attack, Warmog's Armor is just for you. A huge amount of health and HP regen, Warmog's Armor will make killing you that much harder.
Before I talk about my skill sequence, here is an overview of Nunu's abilities.
- Visionary(Passive): Nunu's passive allows him cast a spell at no mana cost every 5th basic attack. As Ice Blast is generally Nunu's most expensive spell, try use your free cast on Ice Blast.
- Consume(Q): Consume is castable only on neutral and enemy creeps, and heals Nunu while dealing damage to that creep. Consume can be as efficient as Smite in securing Baron Nashor , Dragon , or one of the Jungle buffs.
- Blood Boil(W): Blood Boil increases the attack rate and movement speed of the target ally. Nunu can cast Blood Boil on himself but still gets the buff if he casts Blood Boil on an ally. Because Blood Boil increases movement speed and has a long duration I often use it to move between creep camps quickly.
- Ice Blast(E): Ice Blast slows the target's attack rate and movement speed and deals damage to the target. Ice Blast is both revered and hated, its powerful slow when stacked with Rylai's Crystal Scepter's slow can make an enemy Champion almost slow to a stop. With it's great AP ratio, Ice Blast is also a very powerful nuke, don't underestimate it. Before channeling Absolute Zero target the champion you want to prevent from escaping with Ice Blast, that way they are too slow to escape Absolute Zero's radius.
- Absolute Zero(R): When cast, Absolute Zero slows all non-allies' attack rate and movement speed in a large radius around Nunu. After channeling for 3 seconds Absolute Zero will deal damage to all non-allies within the radius. Absolute Zero is a very dangerous ability and can decimate an enemy team. However, be careful when casting this ultimate as you will suddenly become a target to stop before you finish your channel. Absolute Zero's biggest weakness lies in disables, which can cancel the channel.
- To Start in Jungle I put a level into Consume to help finish off Blue Buff quickly. The faster you complete your Jungle route the better your chances for Counter-Jungling and ganking before the enemy Jungler can do anything.
- I then take a level in Blood Boil so I can quickly move between creep camps. Blood Boil is just great with its long duration, allowing an even faster Jungle time.
- Next I take a point in Ice Blast for an early gank or in case of a Counter-Jungle. If you feel you won't gank as early as level 3 and aren't worried about being Conter-Jungled you may put another level into Consume for quicker Jungle times. I take Ice Blast to secure kills in early ganks and even scare off enemy Junglers from trying to invade.
- If you took Ice Blast at level 3 put a level into Consume now. Or if you took Consume at level 3 put a level into Ice Blast.
- Put another level into Ice Blast at level 5. Ice Blast will be your main weapon in the game and you need to level it up fast.
- At level 6 put a point into Absolute Zero. Your Ultimate ability, put levels into this whenever you can.
- From levels 7 to 18 max Ice Blast first, then Consume, grabbing a level for Absolute Zero at 11 and 16. Finally finish maxing Blood Boil.
Bare with me, there are 3 standard Jungle routes, and I am currently testing them looking for few options for you guys to try. What to expect?
- A friendly stroll through Jungle for those who are still learning Jungle.
- A rush Counter-Jungle with side kick.
- And the classic Power Clean/Double Buff Gank.
Yes I've been holding out on you guys! I'm missing a few Runes so busy farming them up at the moment so I can give accurate Jungle Routes and how they perform. P.S. With the new Rune Sheet I need 9475 IP to buy them, so excuse me while I farm hard!11/10/2012
After playing Nunu for awhile now I've found him to just excel at so many aspects of the game. Whether it be a AP monster diving out the Jungle, a utility tank with a side order of pain, or even an over aggressive Support, Nunu does it all. Massive amounts of Sustain, great AP Ratios and so much Utility, I cannot ask for more. I hope you all enjoy Nunu like i have and maybe take this guide and become an amazing Nunu player. Look forward to seeing you all on the battle field!