Rammus General Guide by DonRoyale
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
UPDATE 10/21/11 - THE ITEMS IN EACH BUILD ARE FOR VARIOUS SITUATIONS YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF IN. NONE ARE WHAT YOU SHOULD BUILD 100% OF THE TIME FOR EVERY GAME. READ THE ITEMS SECTION FOR DETAILS ON HOW TO BUILD RAMMUS EFFECTIVELY.
So yeah, this is my first guide on MOBAFire, and I hope I've done a decent enough job. If you're looking for a fancy guide with lots of pictures, look elsewhere. If you're looking for general tips and an all-around guide on how to play the Armordillo, you've found your guide. I'm by no means a pro player (I'm only 1300 ELO, though I was 1400 at one point! XD), but I think I've played enough games as Rammus to know what I'm doing when I play him.
Before I begin, let me point something out to you that may confuse the newer player. The role of a tank depends entirely on what the tank does. You don't typically build MR for Malphite or armor on Galio. Rammus, while mainly an armor tank due to Spiked Shell, generally performs specific roles for his team, much like most tanks do.
There are two main types of tanks - Tanks with taunts and tanks without them. Tanks with taunts generally build Thornmail and do what they can to peel the enemy carry off of your team. Tanks like those - like Rammus - don't benefit much from Evasion or in general dodge as a stat. You want your enemies to hit you, so you can proc that Thornmail and Defensive Ball Curl. (or Ki Strike or Bulwark - you get the general idea)
So where does Rammus fit in here? In ranked, I generally play with him regardless of what the enemy team picks, but he's a strong counter to champions who tend to do most of their damage from autoattacking. ( Tryndamere, Master Yi, Xin Zhao, Udyr, Nocturne and Gangplank are good examples of champions Rammus can do some pretty mean things to) His jungling is weak compared to an Udyr or Lee Sin, but his ganking potential is immense and he is a powerful asset to any team.
His initial learning curve is not that difficult, in my opinion - learning the ins and outs of his abilities can be a pain, and he's a difficult champion to truly master, but picking him up at first is not all that hard.
Converts 25% of Rammus' Armor into Attack Damage.
This gives Rammus deceptively high attack damage, especially early on. At level 1, you have more attack damage than most AD carries if you build Doran's Shield, which can surprise unprepared opponents.
Rammus accelerates in a ball towards his enemies, dealing 100/150/200/250/300 (+100% of ability power) magic damage and causing 28/36/44/52/60% reduced movement speed to nearby enemies on impact.
Cooldown = 10/10/10/10/10
Cost = 80/90/100/110/120
Range = 300
Rammus' go-to skill when being offensive. In a brush? Charge it and accelerate out of brush directly into the enemy you're trying to gank. Is that enemy running away once it's back up? Activate it and chase them down. Without boots, you get around 610 MS at its fastest, which can certainly help you catch up to enemies no problem. In addition, on-hit, you knock up and then slow enemies in a 300 AoE range from the target you run into.
Keep in mind that you can't right-click an enemy that you want to hit with this skill. To successfully land a Powerball against an enemy, move slightly past them. This is especially evident with larger enemies like Dragon and Baron; you'll Powerball but you'll just be stuck in front of them spinning really fast.
It's also the best skill to be in when aggressively Flashing towards an enemy, due to how fast the skill can close gaps, but how prone you are to getting it blocked by minions.
You can cancel the skill by pressing Q at any time. Keep in mind, with Powerball active, you can't activate any of your other non-summoner skills.
Defensive Ball Curl
Rammus goes into a defensive formation for 6 seconds, increasing his armor and magic resistance by 50/75/100/125/150 and returning 26/32/38/44/50 (+10% of armor) magic damage to attackers.
Cooldown = 14/14/14/14/14
Cost = 50/50/50/50/50
Range = 300
What makes Rammus such a good tank. With it active, you become extremely durable while also dealing a lot of damage to enemies who decide to beat up on you. It's probably his best skill in the jungle, where multiple neutral enemies attack him constantly, allowing Rammus to deal with subordinate neutral monsters very easily while beating up on the important ones.
Also, because it buffs armor, it works with to give him attack damage, useful in fights but especially tower pushing, where it gives him 37.5 attack damage at max rank, which is nothing to sniff at, when you have that and Tremors just destroying towers left and right.
Despite this, don't activate the skill while pushing a tower when an enemy champion is nearby. If they attack you, the proc from Defensive Ball Curl will damage the enemy champion and draw tower aggro to you.
Rammus taunts the unit into a reckless assault, reducing their armor by 10/15/20/25/30 and forcing them to attack Rammus for 1/1.5/2/2.5/3 second(s).
Cooldown = 12/12/12/12/12
Cost = 50/60/70/80/90
Range = 325
Quite simply, one of the best CC skills ever. At max rank, you have a CC skill that's better than most stuns (especially when Defensive Ball Curl is active). You are able to pretty much entirely shut down a single target, reduce their armor for your allied DPS, and allow your entire team to burst them down for 3 whole seconds. It may not seem like a lot, but try it yourself and see how much of a difference three seconds makes. It is the single reason I say that laning Rammus should always be paired with an AD carry. You always max this skill first, without question.
Rammus creates tremors beneath him, dealing 65/130/195 (+30% of ability power) magic damage per second to nearby units and structures. Lasts 8 seconds.
Cooldown = 60
Cost = 120/120/120
Range = 300
A fantastic ultimate. It works while you're using Powerball. It damages enemy buildings. It helps Rammus with his really poor last-hitting ability by offering AoE farm. It and Defensive Ball Curl help Rammus just destroy towers. The AoE helps add damage to multiple targets, something Rammus can have problems with in fights (he's really good at disabling and damaging one target, but without poor positioning he has difficulty hitting multiple enemies without the use of Powerball).
And the best part: It has a 60 second cooldown. I often forget this myself, the skill's very spammable due to its low cooldown in comparison to most ultimates.
Pros / Cons
-Fantastic ganker, making him a great jungler
-Fantastic split pusher and tower-killer with Defensive Ball Curl and Tremors
-Great utility in team fights, disables and destroys enemy DPS like a boss
-Fantastic mobility with Powerball
-He's a badass
-Deceptively strong AD with Spiked Shell and your rune setup
-Most difficult champion to kill in the game, especially when you build Guardian Angel
-Kickass skins (Dat Ninja Rammus)
-Effectively counters a wide variety of champions by himself, making him a versatile counter pick in draft mode
-His jungle is very brittle; if they counter jungle you aggressively enough, your early game is awful
-He is an extremely awful farmer due to the fact that only Powerball deals upfront damage and his mana is pretty poor
-Very easily kited, especially by champions with slows like Ashe or ranged AD carries with the Lizard buff
-His base stats are rather weak, making him squishy early game
-His mana is quite weak until later in the game, especially if you're prone to blowing cooldowns often
-His damage falls off later in the game unless you build armor and there's lots of DPS
-Creeps love to run in front of your Powerball. Seriously.
-Coordination is key; if your team is uncoordinated you'll have to remember to call MIA's and ping often
For runes, I use the same set in all three Classic builds because I believe it really helps Rammus' really weak early game. With this build, you can do deceptively high damage, more than most AD carries in fact.
9x Greater Mark of DesolationGreater Mark of Desolation - It's honestly debatable whether that or Greater Mark of Insight is better on Rammus. I'm honestly testing both, but I'm of the opinion that runes help most early, and Rammus' cooldowns are rather high, so most of his damage comes from his basic attacks. For that, you want Armor Penetration.
9x Greater Seal of Resilience - I believe flat armor is best for him in laning and jungling, to help him tank not only the basic attacks from most ranged champions (a serious problem for Rammus is how easily kited he is, especially early when he's weakest). Plus, it helps give him AD from Spiked Shell.
9x Greater Glyph of Shielding - This helps balance out your resistances. Flat runes fall off late imo, but most mages don't get a lot of their offensive power until after you've built Mercury's Treads to fight them, so you want per level MR glyphs to get the most MR for lategame.
3x Greater Quintessence of Fortitude - Flat health quints are easily the best, there's no explanation needed. They're just so helpful early to stay alive.
I admit that, for Dominion, I'm really flirting with runes, summoner spells, and items for Rammus, but I generally know the role he plays.
9x Greater Mark of Desolation - Due to the fact that you'll be building at least one mobility item that increases your attack speed, you'll want the armor penetration marks to help punch through most champions' base armor values.
9x Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration - While armor seals work with Spiked Shell to give you attack damage, in Dominion, mana is a larger issue, so you'll want to have the mana regeneration these seals give.
9x Greater Glyph of Attack Speed - I honestly have no idea what to put here. Maybe Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction?
3x Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - Get dunked and stuff.
For laning, I like taking a 9/21/0 build.
Archaic Knowledge , in my opinion, is hands-down the best mastery for any champion who deals magic damage. It's very much worth building on him, and it beats leveling neutral buff duration when you're not jungling, and damage is easily more important than gold over time.
Strength of Spirit is my favorite mastery on tanks. Health regeneration that scales as your mana increases is just awesome.
From there, the build is pretty standard. Blocking physical damage and improved health are both great trees on him, and improved Fortify is just awesome on Rammus in 3's.
For jungling, you always want to take improved Smite because of the gold it provides. As a jungler, you can starve for gold a lot of the time unless you can be successful in all of your ganks or if you're having to hold lanes and succeeding in farming minion waves inlane. Neutral buff duration is always important to have, especially having the Golem buff for 1.3x as long really helps his early mana problems. Aside from that, take standard defensive masteries.
You have no standard item path for Rammus. It honestly depends entirely on the enemy team on how you want to build his items. You have to judge the amount of DPS/magic characters, who of them is doing best, and itemize against them.
Your boots will almost always be Mercury's Treads. Even on full armor Rammus, the reduction of crowd-control effects, like slows or stuns, is invaluable (especially considering the fact that almost all AD casters have a hard disable, such as Aegis of Zeonia, Cutthroat or Ki Burst). In addition, Rammus, much like a Shen or Galio, is actually hindered by the dodge stat, because it makes your taunts weaker, and being attacked is key to your kit.
Usually, when laning, you want to take Doran's Shield first. The survivability and slight offense makes it all-around the best starting item for lane Rammus.
If the enemy team's damage is mostly physical, rush Thornmail, as it's the best item on Rammus bar none. Even vs. mages, a 3-second taunt combined with the procs from Thornmail and Defensive Ball Curl will really start to add up over time. I like to get Randuin's Omen for the sole purpose of increasing health and armor and projecting an AoE slow, but I build the Heart of Gold early to get some early health and the most mileage out of the gold over time aspect as possible. Do your best to avoid building Warden's Mail altogether; it is a pretty poor item on Rammus altogether. You want to be attacked by the Tryndamere who stacked three Phantom Dancers. Continue building armor with Sunfire Cape, Guardian Angel, and finish up by adding some damage with Atma's Impaler. If an AD caster like Pantheon, Riven or Talon are ruining your day, swap the Impaler for a Banshee's Veil.
If the enemy team is magic, this is where it gets complicated. If the enemy mages are burst mages with a lot of CC like Anivia, Annie or LeBlanc, rush Banshee's Veil. Warmog's Armor may seem like an odd choice, but with that and Banshee's Veil, any AP burst caster will find it extremely difficult to bring you down. Force of Nature also combines well with the ~1600 HP your two previous items have given you, and Guardian Angel is all-around a good item that can help give you a small amount of damage from Spiked Shell]. Your sixth item depends on who you're fighting; even against enemy mages, Thornmail is all-around a great item for Rammus; it gives you great AD and procs [[Defensive Ball Curl and works with Puncturing Taunt extremely well. However, if the enemy team contains a Warwick, Malzahar, Mordekaiser, or a lot of Ignites, you may want to grab a Quicksilver Sash. It's an extremely underrated item that really helps deal with strong stuns, suppresses and DoT abilities.
If there's a good balance of who's doing well, you'll want to take the items that work well with both. Thornmail is probably the item that functions best with Rammus' kit, it's only 2000 gold for 100 armor, and just shuts down most melee solo tops and AD carries. Heart of Gold again allows Rammus to let his teammates farm while giving him the gold he needs to get to his late game items, while also eventually becoming Randuin's Omen. Meanwhile, Guardian Angel builds both resists and is all-around amazing, Banshee's Veil protects you from CC and gives you health, mana and MR, and Force of Nature gives Rammus mobility and health regen in addition to great amounts of magic resistance.
Always, always, always max Puncturing Taunt first. It's what makes Rammus such an amazing champion. Three. Second. Taunt. It lowers armor, best of all, so if you're laning with an AD carry you almost assuredly kill your target once you have it maxed.
After you've maxed Puncturing Taunt, max Defensive Ball Curl. The AD/AR/MR buff is awesome at killing turrets, and the procs help kill enemies with high attack speed.
Powerball doesn't scale well as you level it, and it's the source of Rammus' mana problems early game because of its high mana cost at rank 1. It's his most versatile skill, but leave it alone once you've taken the first point on it.
When jungling, take Defensive Ball Curl first. The buff plus the procs help speed up your jungling immensely. It's actually worth taking two points to speed up your jungling that much more.
Lastly, always take Tremors whenever you can. This should be obvious, however.
Flash is the best summoner spell in the game, hands-down. With Rammus' high mobility, you can Flash out and Powerball to safety quite easily if you're smart.
When laning in 5's, take Teleport. You can scare opponents off of your turrets just by initiating a teleport to it, and it helps him split push extremely well, due to Rammus being one of the best tower-killers in the game, because of Tremors' ability to damage towers. By yourself, you're able to brick a tower from half extremely fast.
When laning in 3's, generally I like to take Fortify. It's a powerful defensive summoner spell, especially because you're able to use it while you're dead, and most pushing happens in groups. In addition, if you improve the skills, you can counter a push extremely well and give your teammates the vital time they need to hold towers from being pushed.
When you're jungling, always take Smite. That should be obvious.
In Dominion, it's become pretty obvious that Ghost is hands-down the best summoner spell on that map. Exhaust is a primary secondary option, but Revive is actually a decent option on Rammus in Dominion. Make sure, if you do take it, to swap your lone Defensive Mastery point for Preservation ; the bonus health is no joke, and can save you in a pinch.
Build 1 - The Lane Rammus
The first build I've highlighted is the lane Rammus. This is generally for people who want to just play a casual match and don't really care about ELO or how to metagame. Rammus does fine in a lane, imo, though his farming ability is awful.
Generally, when playing in lane, you want to set yourself up with someone who either deals physical damage (they make the most out of the armor reduction debuff Puncturing Taunt provides) or a caster who is position-reliant or works with a lot of skillshots ( Annie, Morgana, Brand and Xerath are good examples). You basically want to lane with someone you can synergize with, to get the most out of Puncturing Taunt.
Once you've learned Puncturing Taunt, you want to play aggressively so long as you can coordinate with your lane partner. Keep in mind, you depend on your lane partner to actually deal damage for you.
Stay in brush to scare your opponents from a potential Puncturing Taunt combo kill, and when you have the upper hand, press it. If an opponent ventures too far out, Powerball into them and taunt them, setting up for either a kill or great harass in lane. Keep in mind, you want to ping your targets. Coordination is key on Rammus.
You generally want to let your laning partner become as farmed as possible in order to get to their full potential. As a tank, you don't want to be too greedy with kills and farm, though if you end up getting kills in the end it's fine.
Build 2 - The Jungle Rammus
Your order is outlined regardless of team position. Your red lines are your gank paths, for outer and inner turrets.
YOU WILL NEED A LEASH. If you want to jungle efficiently as Rammus, you need a leash. What is a leash? This video should explain it:
Take the standard jungle route if your team isn't stupid. Get 1-2 leashes and start at blue. Rammus has great durability and is able to sustain himself if ganked at blue, but understand that he is royally screwed over if successfully countered. Make sure you coordinate well with your team if you're jungling so that this doesn't happen. If your team leashes you well enough, you can reach level 2 while losing minimal health.
From there, go to the Wolves, Powerball into them, and turn on Defensive Ball Curl. Pop a health pot if necessary, and alternate the use of your skills.
Move over to the Wraith camp. Rammus is one of the best junglers at killing the wraiths, due to Defensive Ball Curl. Always focus the blue wraith first, which should die quickly to your Defensive Ball Curl procs and constant attacks.
After that, I like to grab Puncturing Taunt and gank mid, but it's up to you what you decide to do. Keep in mind you want to be relatively healthy when attempting this, as you should still have the blue buff by this point and you don't want to give it to the enemy solo mid.
From there, move to the Golem camp. You may appear to have trouble with them, but the durability Defensive Ball Curl grants you, plus your off-cooldown Smite, will help you take them down fairly easily.
From here, back off and buy boots, pots, and probably a single Sight Ward, and take the Lizard. Smite will be up for you midway through the fight, so use it when it comes off cooldown to take the buff. Once you have it, begin ganking and itemizing. If the enemy team has high AP and CC, take Mercury's Treads and save your Cloth Armor for Guardian Angel or Aegis of the Legion. Itemize accordingly, as always.
Don't solo dragon until you've built some pretty strong defense. I've never tried soloing dragon until at least level 13, but that's because I'm not confident in my ability to jungle. However, if you can pull off a successful gank on bottom lane, ask your lane to help you dragon. You generally want your ranged DPS to help you with it, though I've had moments where a support and I have taken it down.
Always remember the important neutral objectives: the buffs, Baron Nashor, and the Dragon. The Golem and Lizard buffs spawn every 5 minutes once the camps are cleared, the Dragon spawns every 6 minutes, and Baron Nashor every (7 or 8, I honestly forget). When doing Dragon and Baron, two extremely important neutral objectives, type out when they'll respawn on your team chat, so that your team can plan to take these objectives when they come back up.
Build 3 - Rammus in the Twisted Treeline
So this part of the guide was a long time coming, but here it is; my insight to Rammus in 3's!
3's are an oft-forgotten mode on League of Legends (mostly because there's no ranked solo queue for it), but it's a mode where I personally believe Rammus shines.
As someone who has yet to jungle on the Twisted Treeline, I'll update this part of the guide as I experiment with the idea. For now, I'll just explain Rammus in lane.
He functions much like he does in Summoner's Rift in a lane; works well with AD, zones and denies enemies in lane, sets up your team; but Rammus' kit works very effectively in 3's.
Because of the general slow nature of the laning phase in Twisted Treeline (I've found games are often laning phase into turtle phase, lol), you can slip out of lane and gank before your opponents can realize you're gone. Because of the bonus mobility Powerball grants you, you can gank extremely effectively if your solo is being outlaned, and you can catch almost anyone in the jungle.
Rammus also works in Twisted Treeline very well because of the general characters that are played in Twisted Treeline. One pick I seem to see everywhere is Tryndamere, due to the lack of CC in Twisted Treeline and the general ability for Tryndamere to counter the turtle phase by backdooring extremely effectively. Rammus is the number 1 counter to Tryndamere not close, and much like Tryndamere, you tend to see a lot of really silly faceroll champions such as Xin Zhao, Pantheon, Nocturne and the like, and Rammus can disrupt most of those types of champions extremely well.
Another of Rammus' strengths is that he shines in the turtle phase of Twisted Treeline, when your lane turrets are down and you're sitting in your base, defending and farming, waiting for your opponents to attack. Rammus gets extremely strong once fully itemized, and can take an absurd amount of punishment, especially because there are only three people to stop him. Generally, in Twisted Treeline, Thornmail makes at least one of my opponents cringe.
Fortify is an experimental summoner spell, but I find that you can stop a victory push in its tracks with this spell, due to the close proximity of the summoner platform to all of your turrets on this map. If you don't like the spell, I encourage use of Exhaust, Ignite, or Ghost as secondary options; Fortify is merely what I use.
Build 4 - Rammus in the Crystal Scar
SO GUYS I HEARD RAMMUS IS OP ON DOMINION IDK MAN
But really, I don't think Rammus is really that strong. In 1v1's he shines, but at the very early stages of the game, he's extremely weak, and he doesn't scale that well as a tank.
Thus, you build him as DUNKMUS, NOOBLORD CRUSHER EXTREME HUEHUEHUE.
Translation: Stack mobility and Priscilla's Blessing. Always capture points.
What I've found in Dominion is that, as long as you control the Windmill and your two points, it's pretty easy to win if you have a competent defender (or in general a Shaco) on your team. While your team fights, you can zip around the map and take points.
Always try to bait your opponents off their points when it's time for a quest. Your absurd mobility can really help you distract your opponents off their point while your team grabs it for the bonuses that finishing the quest provides.
I haven't had too many games as Rammus on Dominion, but as I get more experience, I'll flesh out the build more. This is what I've been trying so far, and it works for me. Generally, you want to be the guy who captures points (similar to the role that Twitch, Evelynn and Sona play on Dominion), and does his best to stay away from fights (though you WILL have to fight sometimes, so be prepared for that.)
Team work is extremely important. Always coordinate with your team when you're ganking or attempting a kill in lane. Remember, you cannot 1v1 virtually any champion until you've built extreme defense, and even then, your damage is extremely weak unless your opponent is a high-attack speed AD carry.
Always ping your targets. Your teammates should know who to target in most situations, but at the same time, you want to coordinate kills. You don't want to taunt the 80% carry to have your carry target the 60% tank.
Buy Sight Wards. On your first trip back to the shop, you'll want to buy at least one. On Summoner's Rift, you want to generally ward Dragon and the bush in your lane. When you've destroyed turrets and obtained some map control, start warding up their jungle to track enemy movement, and start warding Baron and Dragon more and more. Keep in mind you can Teleport to wards when you're laning in 5's. Vision is extremely important, because you can almost always kill out-of-position targets when you coordinate with your team well enough.
Also, if the enemy team has a Twitch or another stealth character, buy an Oracle's Elixir whenever possible. Keep in mind you have to be a lot more defensive when you've bought one; you pretty much put yourself on a large-scale killing spree when you've bought one, because you've made yourself worth more gold when you've got it active. One of the most debilitating things to do to a Twitch is to drop a Vision Ward in the middle of your lane to see him two inches from your face, right in taunt range, and extremely vulnerable to you and your carry.
ALWAYS KNOW WHO TO TAUNT.
When your carry's being chased or focused down, you generally want to focus the enemy DPS who's attacking them. This can save their life, especially when you interrupt a direct 1v1, taunt the enemy away from your dying carry, and together burst them down. Rammus is excellent at helping peel apart enemies in team fights.
When your carry's being chased and you're in range of taunt, TAUNT. Even if you die, rather you than your carry. Prioritize enemies who can close distance extremely fast, like Jax or Irelia. Otherwise, just taunt the enemy closest to your carry.
Your ultimate, Tremors, is on a very low cooldown. Always use it in bogged fights. The AoE is excellent at helping your teammates kill enemies that much faster, and if you itemize armor, it's one more AoE spell to stack to destroy enemy AD carries with.
It's always a good idea to break from your lane when your carry's in trouble. If your team pings for help, Powerball over to them right away. Try and gank as best as possible; if an enemy is being aggressive in lane, Powerballing in from brush can almost always lead to great harassment, if not a kill.
Well, I hope I've given you some insight on Rammus. I haven't seen a guide that explains jungling and laning at the same time, and I'll edit in some nuances of 3's some time after. I hope I've given you a good footnote on how to build and play Rammus. Happy pubstomping!