Trundle Build Guide by ForeignCurs
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Not Updated For Current Season
This page will specify a certain build that works on Trundle as being the jungling tank for ranked games. This Trundle should still be able do significant damage while disrupting the enemy's position. It is important to note that while this guide may give you pointers as to a decent build, a good Trundle excells by playing adaptively and gaining experience, not only reading guides.
If you vote, please do so based on the entire guide and not on a few issues what you happen to consider to be terrible. Everything is explained somewhere, so take your time to read it. If you don't find some explanations sufficient, comment and consider the alternatives and the rest of the build.
TLDR: True, but don't downvote because of it.
Read this guide if you want to:
- Play a damaging jungler early game.
- That can handle counterjunglers.
- Turn into a surprising tank mid/lategame.
- Still get some kills.
This champion is not the optimal pick when:
- Facing a disrupting team, containing members like:
- Their carry has an escape ability like:
Several options exist. In fact, my particular choice doesn't make me tanky at all, it just helps loads when jungling and gets you that early gank in. When you do actually need to be tanky, you'll be lvl 6 or higher and whatever buff you'd get from tanky runes would not matter that very much anyway.
Greater Mark of Desolation Marks Greater Mark of Desolation
I go for the straightdown armor penetration of Greater Mark of Desolation. It buffs both my auto-attack as my Rabid Bite. That's a win as jungler. There should be no real reason to pick other marks.
Still, if you insist, some other options are Greater Mark of Attack Damage or maybe even Greater Mark of Attack Speed. The flat armor penetration will help you a lot better though, both instantly as in the long run.
Other runes are not even slightly viable on Trundle.
Greater Seal of Replenishment Seals Greater Seal of Replenishment
Personally I prefer the Greater Seal of Replenishment. Since you'll hit Rabid Bite a lot and you're a relatively fast jungler, you might run out of mana to gank even with Crest of the Ancient Golem if you aren't careful. It nets you about 100 additional mana when you're through the jungle once, which buys for a Rabid Bite and a Pillar of Filth.
Do note, I only pick these because I tend to gank very soon. If that's not the case, a better alternative is Greater Seal of Armor. Getting flat armor as a jungler is always a good choice, especially if you turn tank later.
I would only recommend really Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction.
Greater Quintessence of Desolation Quintessences Greater Quintessence of Desolation
Again, I go for the straightup Greater Quintessence of Desolation. It's awesome for jungling and getting early kills.
Good alternatives include Greater Quintessence of Health or Greater Quintessence of Armor, which makes you beefier early on and helps you tank sooner. Also Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage is viable, but I'd choose the armor penetration over flat attack damage any time.
I go for a 21/0/9 mastery page. Do note that this is only because I pick the above runesset! I need that 1 point in
to kill the jungle creeps 1 hit sooner. Trust me, in this setup it pays off.
If you take other runes, you'll probably drop Havoc . For example, if you take flat damage marks or quints (respectively Greater Mark of Attack Damage and Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage) I'd stick with Utility Mastery .
Your skills are:
Your free heal in the jungle and during teamfights. Not as decent as other passives, but lategame it gives a lot of healing from creeps/champions, be they allied or enemy. The big plus of this passive is that if you win a teamfight, you're almost always full health, which is a winner for pushing, grabbing Dragon or Baron Nashor and tanking turrets.
This ability will be your main working horse. It's damage is decent and the cooldown and mana low. Plus you steal damage from your opponent, giving you a damage and defense edge, especially against creeps in the jungle.
The most important property however is that like Nasus' Siphoning Strike and Poppy's Devastating Blow it resets your auto-attack timer. So always use Rabid Bite right after an auto-attack.
In the jungle: A good jungler knows to successfully follow his auto-attacks up with Rabid Bite's. The fact that it gives you 20 additional damage and steals 10 from creeps makes you very strong and beefy. In fact, you'll read in the jungling guide how so.
As a tank: Try to use it on the enemy's carry. Seriously, stealing even just 20 damage from the carry is nice. More information in the tanking guide.
Should be maxed out first.
This ability allows you to be good while having few items. It's why Trundle ganks are usually considered very dangerous. The area is large enough to operate and the buffs are insane. As a jungler, being able to gank with even just 20% more attack speed, movement speed and crowd control reduction gives you a surprising edge, especially since his base movement speed is already quite high. In fact, even at level 1 it's like already having lvl 2 boots.
In the jungle: Don't spam it. Using it once should get you through any jungle fight and doing it twice makes you lose time and mana. While ganking the large area will give you away if you use it too soon. Try to close the gap and when halfway put it down between them and their tower. It guarantees you the full benefit while chasing. I usually do it right after my Pillar of Filth.
As a tank: Nice to have 20-40% CC reduction. Combine this with Mercury Treads and you have 61% CC reduction at level 18. It'll eat their control. The speed boost combined with Mercury's Treads goes for >500 movement speed. Which is 2x the boost given by Boots of Mobility. You'll use this to close the gap to their carry (read later). The attack speed is a sweet bonus.
Level as secondary ability.
I understand people leveling it a bit sooner, but I use this ability more because of the disruptive wall than the slow. So not much use leveling it up soon. Good positioning will trap enemies completely. Since it is summoned from the ground, it will push champions aside. It is very effective for disruptive teamfights, pushing someone back to you or away from you.
It also gives a line of sight. Ideal for checking bushes or sidelanes, especially when you've trapped someone with it.
As for ulties. Some are in fact disrupted by the pillar. Ulties that I know are disrupted for sure are:
- Warwick's Infinite Duress,
- Malzahar's Nether Grasp,
- Nunu's Absolute Zero and
- Karthus' Requiem (did not test when he's dead though).
In the jungle: Only to gank. Use it to initiate, put it wisely. Force them to run into the slow for a long time.
As a tank: To disrupt ulties or to split the enemy team in two. Putting this pillar in the mid of a teamfight severely destroys the enemy's ability to fight coherently. As said above, also use it to chase or escape.
Don't level soon except once in the beginning.
Trundle's underestimated ult. It's low on damage, but also low on cooldown and mana. You can simply use it every time you encounter an enemy champion. Why is it so good? Because it rapes a champion's defenses and makes you a full tank. Put it on their tank, and you gain about 50-100 armor and magic resist, while their tank loses it. Utterly useless if you want to purely dps (other ults and champions are better picks then), awesome if you are the tank.
The damage is over time too, so you can use it on fleeing enemies instead of picking Ignite to finish them off, even though the damage is not that great.
In the jungle: Works like a charm on Dragon and Baron Nashor as well.
As a tank: Always use it on the tank (like Rammus omg) or the most armored carry (like Poppy, Renekton or Nasus). Beefs you up and them down. Recipe for rape.
Level whenever you can.
The natural pick is Smite. You are a jungler, nuf said.
As a second spell I go for Exhaust because I need to do some control as a tank. The damage reduction is great and in ganking the slow combined with your Pillar of Filth is instawin.
- Ignite. I'm not a big fan, since you are fast enough to chase and your ult can do the trick just the same.
- Flash. No issues with it, great ganking material. I just like Exhaust's damage reduction more. Feel free to pick it instead though, it is a must-pick against disrupting ults.
- Ghost. Not worth it. You're fast enough as it is. It's like taking Cleanse on Gangplank.
- Cleanse. Not worth it. You have enough CC reduction as it is.
- Fortify. Only disputably useful because it is useless in offense.
TLDR: A full path to follow when jungling, maybe too detailed to read, but it contains useful hints.
Start at Ancient Golem .
Let someone pull it. You can do it without pull but it'll cost you way more health; not worth it. As soon as the pull stops and the creeps target you, use your first potion.
You should be able to get him down quickly spamming your Rabid Bite. Remember to use it immediately after an auto-attack for maximum dps. I usually Smite when he's near 700 hp. That way I'm sure I don't spend any attack too much on him. It does leave him open for a steal, so beware.
The Young Lizard creeps surrounding him are easy. Your Rabid Bite will make one of them completely useless damagewise. I usually initially hit the first with a Rabid Bite, kill the second and finish off the first. It saves you a bit of damage.
You are level 2, level Contaminate.
Alternative Start (as suggested by wlkGrogolog)
You could also start with killing only the Big Wolf and then going to the Ancient Golem. This should not interfere with the jungling path at all, as the Big Wolf can be killed before the Ancient Golem even spawns. Why would you do this? Because it takes off 5s of your jungling, allowing you to gank sooner. It's a small optimization, but it can make the difference to get first blood.
I however do not do it myself unless my support has taken a healing ability as first level. Doing the Big Wolf only, then the Ancient Golem and then the Lesser Wolves results in you taking 50 more damage than normal (because the Lesser Wolves can have a go at you twice). This means I have to spend a healing potion at the wolves which I'd rather not. With a healing support (that is supposed to cover you at your Ancient Golem anyway) you ignore this penalty with one quick heal.
Continue to the Wolves.
Screw potions and Contaminate. Both are a waste on these wolves. Except if your pull was a bit funky and you've taken a hit too much, then use a potion but preferably not. Focus the Giant Wolf first. Then do the same routine as with the two Young Lizards to the two Lesser Wolves.
Run over to the Wraiths.
Make sure to pop a potion and your Contaminate right before attacking. First focus the Wraith, then the Lesser Wraiths. If you follow my exact runes and masteries, you should be able to kill the Wraith before your second Rabid Bite. So you deals with him pretty quick.
The Lesser Wraiths are focussed down one by one, and normally you should be able to start off hitting the first Lesser Wraith with your Rabid Bite, which comes off cooldown right after slaying the Big Wraith. When attacking the second Lesser Wraith your Contaminate ends. Just finish the last one without Contaminate.
Level gained. If my team is playing bot, I pick Pillar of Filth. If we are top, I tend to vary my choice between Rabid Bite and Pillar of Filth. I'll explain later.
Hop over to the Golems.
Smite is back up: use it, Contaminate, pop a potion and finish them of.
You should now have hit minute 3:30 with 1 potion left and about half your health.
Continuing: Your Team Is Bot.
Usually when I'm bot, I pop my potion and go looking for a gank in the bot lane. You took your Pillar of Filth just for that reason. People often don't expect a gank that soon and you should have just outleveled them at this point. Their jungler is likely top now, so you're in a free zone. I nearly always gank, unless my own carry looks like dying too easily.
- If your carry looks like dying, jump in and get some creeps. Your carry can recall.
- If your carry doesn't look like dying, gank and get a kill/assist.
At this point you have 700+ gold and are level 4. Awesome, recall and get a Madred's Razors. You should start warding now too, so use any extra gold for Sight Ward. If you were really lucky and got 2 kills/assists because their support was an utter moron, buy Boots of Speed immediately instead of the wards. Let your support do the warding then, he's normally rich now too.
Now we go for the Lizard Elder . Chances are you can gank bot again immediately. Do have your support keep an eye out for them placing wards. Ganking mid is a valid option too. Ward Dragon if you can and your support hasn't done so already.
Continuing: Your Team Is Top.
I don't like ganking top that much. The top champions have too much escape abilities and are on their guard because they don't have support. Usually I take a look and see if the enemy champ is low health and my ally isn't too low either.
- If that is the case, I leveled Pillar of Filth after the Wraiths and do try to gank, simply to make them use their Flash or recall very early. I'm not per se looking for a kill/assist. Stay in lane a bit to farm to 700 gold or until your wolves are about to respawn. Then do them. Your own top will not like your farm that much, but he's getting some free farm versus the other top anyway. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Seriously. However, at high elo, don't.
- If it's not the case, I leveled Rabid Bite and recall after the Golems. I grab Boots of Speed and I now do Lizard Elder with my last potion. I might gank top or mid at that point, depending on the situation.
- Sometimes you need to take over top or mid because the harass was too big (like facing a Cassiopeia mid). Accept the farm with open arms. Recall and buy Madred's Razors.
Your freeplay has begun about now, so roam and do ganks. Give buffs to your allies and defend or push lone towers. You'll find that with Madred's Razors you'll defend very well and with Contaminate Trundle can break down a tower from full health on his own. Keep the Dragon warded at all times.
At this stage I usually build my Phage, Mercury's Treads, Wriggle's Lantern and The Brutalizer. Not necessarily in that order, though I often go for Mercury's Treads first for the huge speed.
General Ganking Pointers
I consider a gank where I don't get an assist/kill but have the target expend his Flash a successful gank. You open up the possibility for your laners to play very aggressively for several minutes in which you might pull off a better gank. Often I don't even move in completely to gank but just put my pillar in the lane for fun. They nearly always Flash to be sure they escape. Fun trick at top.
Giving your kill to the lane carry is not always that easy. It often comes down to a final Rabid Bite which nets you the kill. Don't worry, an assist is worth relatively much begingame (when even 200 gold makes a difference), so the carry shouldn't complain. Especially since he now can freefarm for a minute.
First of all, it's a raging risk. You and your teammates will hate yourself if you fail at it and give first blood to the enemy jungler, which sucks balls.
Still, it's doable.
I disadvise ever to try and steal the enemy's Ancient Golem. Too risky. By far.
Don't counterjungle at the Golems bot either. Their carry+mid will often pick you up as a free kill.
I do however like the Wraith gank. Most junglers will be lowest health at this point, just starting to spam their abilities. Bullseye.
How to do it?
- The enemy jungler cannot have Flash, or you'll fail. Nearly any jungler has it though, so you can't try this often...
- Position yourself at the green dot near the Wraiths and wait. Normally, a jungler never checks there, nor does the enemy mid has sight on you.
- Ask your support to Clairvoyance the enemy jungle about 10s after you finish wolves, preferably by putting it in the mid lane so the enemy jungler doesn't pay attention to it.
- If you see him at it, attacking him right after he used his abilities. You should net the kill with Exhaust, an auto-attack or two and Rabid Bite in between.
- Vital! Your own mid must now keep their mid busy. Their mid may not get the chance to kill you.
If you happen to come across the enemy jungler in your own jungle, then Exhaust him, ping your position and auto-attack+ Rabid Bite. Most junglers are that startled by the sudden 200 damage burst that they instantly run. And you get the kill. Only very few junglers like Amumu can face you, but don't get too confident... Just remember that the damage buff and debuff of Rabid Bite, combined with Contaminate makes you especially good at 1vs1 with most junglers. You can often hold your ground and wait for assistance. The worst option is running scared when you could have made an easy kill.
Your build is quite variable at this point. It could be the teamphase started rather early, in which case you probably built Phage and Mercury's Treads first. Or it could be you've got all jungling items built before people even start leaving their lanes...
At this point I rush Frozen Mallet. It's awesome damage + health + slow. It makes you tanky like hell because not many champions are able to strip off the additional 700hp at that point of the game. You get your increased armor and magic resist from your ult for free so investing in pure health is a cheap solution.
I usually build Youmuu's Ghostblade if we are winning or a fully defensive item when I really need to absorb additional damage that I not yet can. Do note that I also build another defensive item, which you can read up on in the Items section. I finish off with a Guardian Angel for that touch of awesomeness.
How to tank?
You don't have any crowd control or abilities to force people to attack you, so make them do so simply because of your playstyle instead!
With Trundle, I always initiate with my Contaminate. Hello 553 speed. If the enemy team has ults I can disrupt, I keep my Pillar of Filth on standby. If not, I usually put it somewhere behind the carry. If you can't put it behind the carry then you shouldn't have initiated. Put your ult on their tank or tankiest carry for the free goodies.
Use your move speed to race to their ad carry. This is vital. Auto-attack + Rabid Bite to grab some of their damage as your own. If you have Youmuu's Ghostblade activate it! Smack your Exhaust on the ad carry. Right now you have achieved the following:
- With Contaminate and Youmuu's Ghostblade you have +90% attack speed. Out of nowhere.
- With Rabid Bite and your items you have +200 damage. Neat feat.
- Your runes and Youmuu's Ghostblade give you a nice 40 armor pentration.
- You have about 250 armor (partly from your ult), which means 70% physical damage gets resisted.
- Your Exhaust reduces damage of their ad carry for another 70%.
How's that actually tanking?
Well, you disrupt their teamfight by making their ad carry completely useless. He either:
- focusses you in a spasm or
- keeps focussing your team.
Only Caitlyn, Tristana, Ezreal and Corki are an exception to this initiation process, as they have escape abilities and huge range to keep doing some damage. So going after them isn't always as effective as carries such as Ashe, Miss Fortune or Gangplank.
Generally speaking though, the fact that they jumped out means they cannot really contribute to the teamfight anymore. In these cases the ad carry often focusses me down out of spite. I tend to die more often due to that focus and distance, but we still win the teamfight. It's not optimal, but nearly always sufficient.
At some point during the game, the enemy team usually understands this trick, so they go wild on CC when they see me going on their carry again. Oh dear, I forgot to mention my CC reduction, didn't I? Well Trundle has 61% of it ( Contaminate and Mercury's Treads do stack, yes). Thank you for wasting your CC on me. Secondary tank mission accomplished while I still get to your carry within two seconds.
Often, I also run in and out a teamfight, making people lose interest in me and then I go back in hitting their carries again. With 553 speed (663 with Youmuu's Ghostblade on), you can pull that off several times and without endangering your squishies.
As said in the introduction, Trundle will perform suboptimal against Orianna with her Command: Shockwave, Jarvan IV with his Cataclysm or Anivia with her Crystallize. Any champion with abilities that completely block you off or remove you from their carry make you useless, so in such cases go pure tank without Youmuu's Ghostblade or better yet pick Flash instead of Exhaust.
Most items are obvious, some need an explanation.
Mercury's Treads is a good choice for the CC reduction. You will be playing the tank, so take it. Wasting your boots item slot on Boots of Mobility or Boots of Swiftness is a shame since you already really are fast enough, while any other boots simply do not fit your role description of a tank!
Wriggle's Lantern is a dead given for a jungler. You might consider Madred's Bloodrazor if you're realy winning and fed to get an early win. Popping that free ward is awesomesaus.
Frozen Mallet works on Trundle like a charm. I'd personally never pick another item when I intend to go with this build. Ever.
Youmuu's Ghostblade kicks *** for that sudden damage burst against their carry. Don't jump on their carry without CC if you can't make a convincing damage threat. Youmuu's gives you this threat. Other other options are The Black Cleaver and The Bloodthirster. I'd go for the burst of Youmuu's though.
Guardian Angel is actually my last pick. I know in the build it looks like it's my fifth item, but it's actually my sixth. I use it to get more tanky and take advantage of the neat passive that'll save your *** if that carry is still dumb enough to focus you.
Purely situational... but always defensive. This is a lategame item, and pure health and your ult won't cut it anymore.
My choices are:
- On a fed ad carry I tend to go Thornmail,
- on a fed ap carry I go Banshee's Veil and
- on a non-fed team I go Sunfire Cape.
In general, Trundle relies on his abilities to gain items:
- Rabid Bite is 40 free damage.
- Contaminate is 40% move speed, attack speed and CC reduction.
- Agony is 50+ armor and magic resist.
Also, this build as a tank only works because you immediately focus the ad carry. If you do not and simply go in like a random loose cannon, you will fail in doing your job because you're not drawing any attention.
Fortunately, targetting the ad carry as Trundle has proven to be a very easy and reliable way of winning teamfights. It requires some skill, but quickly becomes a very effective routine, that even works with few items built.
On average, this Trundle wins me about 85% of the games I start bot, 75% that I start top (the early bot gank helps tremendously) and usually with a 4/5/10 score. Yes, the games mostly end sooner than late, which explains the low score. I think for a tank in ranked this are telling win rates.