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.
This build, as all builds are, is the work of opinion. I do not claim to be the ultimate fountain of knowledge. I find it particularly useful and it seems to be the most viable build I've come across thus far. Also, if you are new to jungling, this guide will not be a read-n-pwn. Jungling is a learned art that you must be familiar with in order to succeed in this role. If you have never jungled, I advise you to check out DEWO's Warwick jungling pattern and thoughts here. Practice a while, learn the ropes, and then give Trundle a try. Lastly, PLEASE don't downvote without a comment. This guide is long, yes. It's a lot to read, yes. But read it and try it before you bash it. If you bash it, tell me why. That being said, I am absolutely right, you're wrong, and if you don't agree with this guide, get bent, sit on it, up yours, and uninstall because I am the ultimate fountain of knowledge.
EDIT 1: 12/17/2010: Hey all, I apologize for the delay in making an edit with RIOT's crazy as balls last patch (22.214.171.124). I just recovered from surgery and have started work again, so my free time isn't what it used to be. Fear not, I wanted to take a moment to touch on the patch and how it affects Trundle.
The last patch was absolutely game changing, to put it mildly. It represents a very interesting and important point, among others: it shows how much RIOT games is trying to destroy the tanky meta-game and melee dps is being emphasized. Sunfires no longer stack. Randuin's and Banshee's took a hit from the nerf bat. If you decide to go Banshee's Veil with this build as a last item, these are the total stats you're missing:
-7% cooldown reduction
-7 magic resist
It's not going to decimate you, and I still recommend all the items in the build, but please be aware of the above stat changes. Keep trollin' those jungles and happy holidays to everyone!
For further proof of the build's viability, I have here my last 4 scores from the last 4 5v5 games I played. See for yourself.
TRUNDLE IS A JUNGLER. DO NOT LANE! Too often Trundles lane, even when the team has no other jungler. This properly equals OMFGWTFQQNOOBRAGE. Don't let this kind of slander come your way during a game. Don't be like that. Know your role.
The only time a Trundle should ever lane is if your team already has a better jungler/ganker (like, oh, say, WARWICK? HERP DERP), otherwise, don't you even think about laning with Trundle.
If you INSIST on playing him as an off-tank (he is NOT a main tank) regardless of what I say, KrYoS has the best off-tank guide available for you here.
20/0/10. Period. Standard jungling masteries. There shouldn't be any questions. Don't even pull that "Why don't you go 21 in Offense?" with me, nancyboy. On a jungler, the 2nd point in Utility Mastery is WAY more important than 5% more damage. This is common knowledge. Get with the program. Avoid anything with AP. It only scales with his ultimate and the scaling is piss. If I see a Trundle with a Trinity or Sheen, you better sit your five dollar *** down before I make change.
Greater Mark of Desolation
If there are questions to this or different runes you prefer for jungling, I don't care to argue with that. Red armor pen is just what you need for jungling and demolishing squishy melee carries. Flat health quints are a must. I find yellow dodge (for flat damage mitigation) is superior to mana per 5 per level that some junglers suggest. Keep Blue up and you shouldn't worry. To be fair, he IS a mana-heavy champion so I won't beat your **** if I see mana per 5 per level yellows. You could take flat magic resistance blues if you prefer as well for added survivability, but since we have Mercs and Guardian Angel in our build, I choose to skip it in favor of flat cooldown reduction (which stacks nicely with Brutalizer/Ghostblade).
Top pick. Works to catch a fleeing enemy with its slow or further disable an enemy carry on you or your teammate with its blind effect. Far more utility than any other summoner spell you could get for Trundle. Remember that Trundle is a utility champ, so skills or spells that help your team (like Exhaust) are a must.
DEWO put it best and I couldn't agree with him more:
"One of the skills you will ALWAYS use - until late game, even. A great skill for taking down bigger mobs fast or to speed up pushing lanes. The main priority is to make your jungling an effective way to get cash and level faster in the early and mid game."
Plus, YOU'RE A JUNGLER. Take it. You don't have a bite like Warwick or a consume like Nunu. You need this.
Why the other spells don't suit you:
You don't need this. Your W will be all the movement speed you need to set up or retreat from ganks.
Useful for jungling early, but after level 8 or 9, this spell becomes meaningless.
Good for 5v5 if you're laning (which you should NOT be doing in the first place), but otherwise, pass on this nonsense.
Not for Trundle. He has so much CC reduction that this becomes an almost bottom-of-the-barrel spell.
Blue takes care of your mana problems. You should almost always have Blue (even if you lane). Next.
Eh. Not a bad last hit on a pussin'-out champ (maybe a good laning spell), but I find that most support champs (Taric, Kayle, Soraka, Sona, etc.) and sometimes the luck of health pots will not guarantee you a kill. It's too much of a variable spell to me. If it works, awesome. If not, it's a waste; so, I usually skip it.
Actually, not a bad jungling spell, but DEWO hits the nail on the head again: "..later on, its cooldown will destroy the effectiveness of this skill."
If someone insists on Clairvoyance, even though you will be doing 90%-100% of the warding, tell them to take it. You only have 1 spell to choose (Smite is mandatory), so don't waste it on this.
Again, not needed at all. Same reason we don't take Ghost (which, if you insist on doing for whatever reason, would actually suit Trundle better then Flash simply because it will last longer than Flash).
Q - Rabid Bite
This is your bread and butter. Max this first. Use it, again, AFTER Q to do the most damage possible. You'll notice the difference. Use it first on the enemy AD carries and squishies for maximum effectiveness. This is your dps-destroying skill.
W - Contaminate
This is why I don't take Ghost. This is an awesome skill that reminds me of a less-powerful version of Singed's ultimate. The gained attack speed and movement speed will be your best friend. Pop it whenever you find your *** in a fight or as you're running away for that added boost. The CC reduction in addition to your Merc Treads is so scary it's not even funny. Max level Rammus taunt only lasts 1 second? Yep. Max this second.
E - Pillar of Filth
This is the skill that separates the gods from the noobs. A well-placed pillar cuts off any retreat from a focused target or gets your teammates out of trouble. The slow is awesome and most people don't run out of it right away, giving you precious seconds to catch up or set your stunner up for a kill. Similarly, if you're being chased, popping this behind you with the enemy and a Contaminate circle in front of you almost guarantees you survive. It's an amazing escape combo. Again, you don't need Ghost or Flash with this kind of utility. This will be your last skill to max.
R - Agony
Weaker ultimate, in my opinion. Fairly short cooldown, so be sure to use it often. Just use it wisely. Burn down a focused squishy if you're ganking, bust it out on a tank during teamfights to keep you alive with the life and stat steal. You want to use it on tanks during teamfights because, in theory, their armor and magic resistance stats will be higher than the other champions, allowing you to leech effectively, getting the maximum bonuses stolen. Put points into it when it pops up.
Begin the game with the standard:
5 Health Pots &
He needs the 5 pots to make it all the way through the jungle AND have enough health to gank after Lizard. As soon as you have enough cash (usually by your first or second run through the jungle), get your sorry *** back to base and pick up:
This gives you the ability to jungle all the lower and mid level neutrals. First item every jungler should get, even before their boots. However, I find it beneficial to bust my *** to earn the extra 525 gold to get your first core item:
It is a must. It gives him massive longevity in the field. He benefits from the armor, from the damage, from the lifesteal, and he benefits GREATLY from the proc. Obviously. As a jungler, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to do the majority of the warding. At the absolute least, Dragon/Baron should always be warded. It is YOUR job to do this, and Wriggle's will save you a ****load of gold by the end. After a little gank/jungle time, your boots await you.
Merc Treads or
Between the Wriggle's and the Merc Treads, you have a really solid base of armor and magic resist, and once you have your next item, you are solidly on your way. Against a team that is stacking physical dps and is light on CC, Ninja Tabi are the better choice. Next up on the list is your third core item:
Wriggle's + Merc + Phage early game = beefy *** Trundle. The Phage will eventually turn into a Mallet, but not yet. We are now one item away from our core mid game build:
This item will turn you into a monster and helps all around. The armor penetration is boss, and you really need the cool down reduction to spam your utility skills as much as you can. Throw in a nice bump for your damage and this item becomes non-negotiable. Now turn your Phage into:
The HP/damage/slow from this is beastly. Start wrecking people. If you can spare the 1360 it takes to complete, then complete:
The active fulfills your role as a chaser and all the other stats beef up your offense nicely. If you'd rather skip Ghostblade for now and rush:
...that's fine, too. The res makes you less-likely to be focused and that leaves you more time to plan and execute your utility skills in teamfights. The added defense just makes people hate you. Good. **** 'em. From this point on, it becomes situational. This is why there is no 6th item in my build list up top. Pick your item here. If the enemy team is heavy on AD, teach 'em a lesson with:
Randuin's Omen or
Both accomplish the same goal. Thornmail destroys carries like Yi, Tryndamere, and Pantheon by itself - however, since they might be less likely to attack you with Guardian, Randuin's can virually nullify the enemy carries' attack and movement speeds in an AOE, helping your team more than a Thornmail would help yourself. Your call. If they are heavy on the AP, go for:
Should not even have to explain this one. GG casters. The added health and mana should make you a feared son of a *****.
Start your route at Blue. There is no reason to do the stupid little trick with the wolf camp from the Champion Spotlight. Auto attack Blue when he spawns, and as soon as it lands, hit Q. ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO SAVE Q FOR AFTER AN AUTO ATTACK. Some say Trundle fails in the jungle. These people are also probably spamming Q and doing half the attacks and half the damage they could be doing. Pop your first potion right as you start Blue. Smite him at 545 health.
Pop your second potion when the first runs out, and start wolves. You'll ding 2, and have W for your attack speed increase, but don't use it on cooldown. Not yet. You will run your fat *** out of precious mana even with Blue. Just use Q on the wolves. Pop your third potion as you cut across mid to get to wraiths. Basically, you are using a potion after every camp. They're like, ****in' 10 cents and you're going back as soon as you can afford your first item anyway, so it's worth being topped-off at all times in case an obvious gank presents itself, or if someone tries to counter-jungle you.
On most junglers, I kill the big wraith last, but on Trundle, burn him first with Q. Lay down your W for the attack speed boost. Holy balls, he does some crazy *** dance when he lays that **** down. Now move on to mini-golems. If you are low and about to B, DON'T TAKE RED YET! This is a major mistake that a lot of junglers make. They make red part of their first rotation. DON'T ****IN' DO IT. You want to use Red. Don't waste it. Kill some time for a second and wait for wolves to respawn. Kill them and B and pick up your Madred's, or as much as you can afford. Now it's time to go do Red/Dragon and gank a lane.
NOTES ON JUNGLING
Once your pathway through the jungle is over, don't clear every jungle camp that spawns compulsively, you don't need to - especially if it's at the cost of supporting a lane that needs help, or missing a skirmish. Don't be that guy. Too many junglers just sit in the jungle all day farming after level 6. After level 6, those mobs are fair game for anyone who wants to take them, and when that happens, **** man, you will need to make do however you can.
NOTES ON PLAYSTYLE
Always make sure you focus the enemy AD carry.
Put W underneath yourself wherever you're going to fight. Slap 'em once with an auto attack, then Q, for majorly increased damage (as opposed to spamming Q as you near them, wasting an auto).
Use your E to cut off their retreat, or their advance, depending on the situation. Remember that E has a nice slow in addition to its wall, so it's always useful. If you ever get the chance to play with an Anivia on your team, you'll quickly find out how ****ing broken your walls are together.
In a teamfight, use your ultimate wisely. If you have the jump on the enemy team's ****, ult whoever is going to be focused to assist in burning them down. If it's a fair fight, ult the tank to increase your own survivability.
NOTES ON WARDS: IMPORTANT AS ****!
LISTEN UP: BUY WARDS. Period. There are only 2 situations where it's okay not to buy a ward when you go to base:
1. You have less than 90 gold.
2. You don't have an open item slot.
Other than that, forget your build. If you have 400 gold, are waiting to finish that Mallet, and say to yourself, "I can't afford a ward now, I need to get Mallet up, and THEN I'll buy wards!" No. You can always afford wards, because they are better than items. They are intelligence. They will get you the kill that will pay for that Mallet. They will deny the other team the kill that would have finished their item. They will set up ganks for you at Dragon and Baron.
Ideally, you should buy 2 wards every trip back (assuming you go back about every 5 minutes), and have your Wriggle's ward, so you can always have 3 places warded at once. HOLY ****, THIS IS A PRIORITY. At the very least, Dragon and Baron need to be warded all game, without interruption. Not only do these wards control those two neutrals, but they also monitor river traffic. Other places to ward are:
1. The bushes exiting the river at bottom and top.
2. Your jungle entrances in mid.
3. All 4 buff camps.
Do it. Please.
NOTES ON ABILITY POWER
Make sure you don't waste your money on a Rageblade or Trinity Force since he doesn't use AP. He has one ability that has AP scaling, and it's the ****ty amount of damage tacked on to your ultimate. In general, I'm telling you guys, this whole Sheen/Triforce thing is a ******ed idea.
It's cute. It's a cute little trick - getting the damage proc. But remember, you are tanky dps, in that order. Early and late, you get Blue (remember: if you're not jungling, you're doing it wrong).
So, you're wasting gold on mana. You're wasting gold on AP. But, you did get a proc out of it? Worth it in the long run? HELL NO.
You have to open with a Wriggle's on him, it's just too perfect. And, for a solid amount of you out there who aren't buying 10+ wards a game (failures), it has a built-in ward for you to use every three minutes so you don't need to delay your later items buying wards.
The main thing that's really bad about rushing Sheen, and then rushing straight to Triforce after boots is this: where's your survivability coming from? You get crit, which you don't need. You get attack speed, which is good. You get health and mana, but not much of either. You get some damage, which is good. You get some AP, which is useless. And, you get the proc.
Trinity Force is one of the most expensive items in the game. You just took your whole savings from the whole game and you put it into an item where half of the stats on it do not benefit Trundle (AP), or aren't necessary (the mana, the crit).
Put your hard earned gold into an item that works for and benefits Trundle. Probably something like a Frozen Mallet?
NOTES ON YOUR ROLE
Remember, he is more tank than dps. 60/40 split. He is not a main tank. But he is also NOT a dps carry. He is somewhere in-between, leaning further towards tank. You shouldn't be worrying about getting lots of damage items on him. Like Olaf, Mordekaiser, and other tanky dps champions, they have low scaling but high base damage. This is to make up for the fact that they will have to buy defensive items. Ranged carries would be balanced differently if it was assumed that a tanky dps champion's first major item might be a Sunfire Cape. They design these champions to do high base damage so that they can build the defensive items they need and still be able to compete offensively. To compensate for this, they don't scale extremely well with items.
Trundle is not a carry. People who are building Black Cleavers, Infinity Edge, whatever other weird builds I've been seeing, if you want that kind of champ, there are a ton of Melee carries who will excel with those items. But why choose Trundle to do that job, when he won't do it half as well as someone else? His job isn't to wipe the enemy team.
Trundle has a few aspects to his role. He is a soaker. He is a disruptor. He controls the action on the battlefield without dealing massive damage. With Mercury Treads and his W, he is nearly un-CCable. His main contributions to a team are his pillar, his ultimate, and his ability to jungle, freeing up another solo lane. Since his main utility lies in a damageless slow/wall and a low-damage ultimate (that makes its target very squishy while making Trundle very beefy), focus on survivability and cooldown reduction. These two things will enable you to constantly annoy the enemy while supporting your own jarheads.
Bottom line: if you want to build Madred's Bloodrazers/Black Cleaver/Bloodthirster, etc., play a melee carry.
Q: "Does everyone totally ignore the part where Q resets auto attack timer?"
A: People might ignore it, I don't know. But, being able to effectively use his reset is one of the main things you need to be doing on Trundle. Do NOT use this ability on cooldown. Don't spam it. You will see a major increase in overall damage if you hit Q right after you land an auto attack. This is almost like a built-in Sheen. When jungling, this is very important. You will take a lot less damage from neutrals due to killing them faster and you will be ready to gank sooner (although ever so slightly). Always hit Q right after an auto attack, and even let Q sit on cooldown for a moment to let the next auto attack land if your skill didn't line up perfectly.
Q: "Trundle is an excellent laner. He can jungle, sure, but much like Gragas, he can lane and he can jungle equally well."
A: This is SORT OF true, but he should never lane at the expense of jungling. People need to understand two things in this game: you need a jungler and buy as many wards as you can (they ****in' pay for themselves). You need to jungle if your champ can do it and no one else on the team is doing it. Besides that, the main reason I wouldn't play Trundle if I had to lane with him is this: I don't lane with any melee champions who don't have a ranged damage ability. It's far too easy for two ranged champs to zone you back to your tower while the creep wave is in the middle of the lane, denying you last hits and experience. Versus some champions as a melee, you can't even approach the creep line.
Think of laning as Trundle, with no ranged ability, versus a Kassadin. That's not going to go well. Examples of melee champs I would lane with would be Shen or Pantheon. If your lane opponents are very aggressive and are good at zoning you out, they can still get last hits with Vorpal Blade or Spear Shot. Melee that have no ranged attack, and no farm ability (an ability that deals enough AoE damage to insta-clear or at least devastate a creep wave, i.e. Alpha Strike), should not lane.
Maybe you did okay with Trundle in a lane today. But, if you are against a Kassadin and a Vlad in your lane, you won't be able to approach the creep line; and when they push the lane to your tower, you won't be able to last hit all of those creeps either, you'll get a few the traditional way.
Again, if the off-tank/laning version of Trundle is your thing, visit KrYoS' guide here.
Trundle belongs in the jungle. Another example is Warwick. Why does Warwick never lane? Because he has no ranged ability to last hit mobs and he has no farm ability to get the last hits at his tower.
So far, I've found that Trundle is a decent jungler (as far as the clear), and a hit-and-miss ganker.
I've been playing Trundle mostly as a tanky/soak jungling champion. Please rate and comment on this guide and I will update and improve it with patch releases as needed.