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Rammus Build Guide by Jebus McAzn
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WARNING: MASSIVE GUIDE.
If you're a tl;dr type person, this is not for you. Fortunately, the table of contents does tend to help.
Please comment and try the build and strategies before voting. Thank you.
Last updated: 02/09/2011
Regarding Bguggs's thoughts on the above "item build" -
"I think it's a common misconception. There is no build. This isn't a build. There can be no build.
You can't "build" a tank with an item path. You can only list the options and scenarios in which they make the best choice. Every Rammus must learn to itemize each game as an independent unit. I think this is a limitation of MobaFire. It gets you thinking linearly, when LoL isn't a linear game.
HoG, Aegis, Randuin's... I mean, there are plenty of games when I get none of those items. The "build" listed on the cheat sheet is less than a suggestion, it's a snapshot of a possible game."
So TL;DR - Don't follow the above item build in every game. Use your own discretion. You're a tank, and you need to react accordingly to what the opposing team builds, not to some pre-determined item order.
Rammus, the Armordillo
The dangerous magic that dominates the Plague Lands has an effect on all life within its confines. Rammus is a living example. No one is entirely certain how an armadillo from the Shurima Desert made his way through the ***ungu Jungle - much less unharmed - but he did just that. Caught in a burst of wild magic, Rammus began to evolve. In the matter of a week, he was man-sized and a week after that he had achieved sentience. The question became, what now? There really wasn't a place in the world for a sentient armadillo - except in the League of Legends. His new form was certainly equipped to fight, and especially to defend. However, it was Rammus' newfound sense of humor that led him to craft an outrageous suit of armor to go over his natural protection - giving birth to the fearsome Armordillo!
Rammus is a tough nut to crack on the field of battle. His spiked shell not only protects him, it causes damage to those that attack him. His wicked sense of humor gives him the ability to taunt his foes into recklessly attacking him, putting them at a defensive disadvantage. Rammus' armadillo heritage also comes out to play as he curls into a ball and launches himself at his foes with tremendous force. He can also curl up to simply maximize his armor, making him very difficult to harm. Rammus also possesses the unusual mystical ability to cause the earth beneath him to rumble, harming nearby enemies - and structures.
Make fun of his name, make fun of his armor, and Rammus will laugh. But he will still lay you out!
^ You couldn't do this if you tried.
Rammus gains additional damage as his shell becomes reinforced, converting 25% of his armor into damage.
This passive gives Rammus viable attack damage. He will never be Master Yi, but his physical attacks will be noticeable enough that the enemy can't simply ignore them. It does exactly what the tooltip says.
Conversions (+damage from armor only):
Doran's Shield = +2 damage
Cloth Armor = +4.5 damage
Ninja Tabi = +6.25 damage
Heart of Gold = +6.75 damage
Aegis of the Legion = +7.5 damage
Chain Vest and Sunfire Cape and Glacial Shroud and Atma's Impaler = +11.25 damage
Warden's Mail = +15 damage
Guardian Angel = +17 damage
Randuin's Omen = 20 damage
Frozen Heart = +24.75 damage
Thornmail = +25 damage
Easiest way to think of it: +20 armor = +5 damage
Rammus accelerates in a ball towards his enemies, dealing 100/150/200/250/300 (+1) magic damage and causing 28/36/44/52/60% reduced movement speed to nearby enemies on impact.
Cooldown - 10/10/10/10/10 seconds
Cost - 80/90/100/110/120 Mana
Range - 300
** Hits all enemies in a 300 AoE.**
**Right clicking or A-clicking an enemy will not cause you to ram into them. Instead, you will stop just short of their model, in the position to autoattack. To ensure a hit, click a spot next to or behind them.**
** In order to hit Golem, Dragon, or a big Cho'Gath, you must collide with the back of their hitbox.**
** Powerball continues through Teleport: this can surprise enemies (props to Jemrin for the reminder).**
** Can be canceled at any time by pressing Q again.**
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[(+0.10)*(armor)] magic damage to attackers.
Cooldown - 14/14/14/14/14 seconds
Cost - 50/50/50/50/50 Mana
Range - 300
**You cannot use Powerball with Defensive Ball Curl(DBC) on.**
**Stops motion for .3(ish) seconds on cast.**
**Can be canceled at any time by tapping W again.**
**Damage return procs spell vamp (courtesy Civil Enemy).**
**Does not proc on Sivir's Ricochet or incoming Thornmail damage (courtesy Civil Enemy).**
Puncturing TauntPuncturing Taunt
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 seconds
Cost - 50/60/70/80/90 Mana
Range - 325
** Sometimes bugs a bit if at maximum 325 range. To ensure target switch get closer to enemy.**
** Remember enemy doesn't hit you immediately when you taunt. There is a brief time before they attack as they switch targets and move over to you or their attack cooldown timer ticks (this is important for tower aggro).**
**Switches target of all minions except Baron.**
Rammus creates tremors beneath him, dealing 65/130/195 (+0.3) magic damage per second to nearby units and structures.
Lasts 8 seconds.
Cooldown - 60 seconds
Cost - 120/120/120 Mana
Range - 300
**The damage is entirely independent of the animation, it will strike once per second (regardless of the apparent pulses) and a little bit beyond the range of the animation.**
**Continues during Powerball use.**
**The AoE hits through thin walls.**
Attack Range: 125
Health: 420 (+86 / per level)
Mana: 255 (+33 / per level)
Move Speed: 310
Armor: 21 (+3.8 / per level)
Magic Resist: 30 (+0 / per level)
Critical Strike Chance: 4% (+0.2% / per level)
Health Regen: 1 (+0.11 / per level)
Mana Regen: 4.5 (+0.06 / per level)
Level 18 Stats:
Movement Speed: 310
Magic Resist: 30
Critical Strike Chance: 7.6%
Health Regen: 2.98
Mana Regen: 5.58
Flash: Flash allows Rammus to both initiate and escape. A Flash Powerball(PB) can let Rammus unexpectedly jump a creep wave and smash an unsuspecting enemy in the face with a stun/slow/taunt combo while a friend comes up from a lane. Also there are plenty of times when you are exactly where you're supposed to be, in the middle of their massive group, but your HP has already been used up or your teammates aren't around. Flash out along the path of least resistance and make a quick PB getaway. No other spell can get a clear coast for you to PB without obstacles to stop you.
Teleport: along with the quick-fountain-stop property, lets Rammus protect or destroy any lane he wants to. Tremors can decimate any creep wave or tower if you can get out into the lane.
Ghost: Many Rammi (yes that is now the plural) get this spell to stack with their PB. It lets you reach ridiculous speeds, especially with another speed-boosting ally, and it is certainly feasible to break through the enemy lines with the Ghost boost and then get a PB off. However, I've always had more trouble getting out of groups with Ghost than Flash, and there is no wall hopping or PB face busting with Ghost.
Cleanse: This is the other escape spell option. I put it last of the three simply because Rammus is able to take a couple of stuns and slows. It's also been nerfed several times... suppression and inability to remove DoTs make it less useful than it used to be. I find it better to be able to really escape when you really need to as opposed to shrugging off one stun and then still being in the midst of enemies to continue to be beat on. That being said there have been countless times when cleansing off an Ashe arrow would have saved my life so... I leave it up to you.
This can also be used to shrug off chain silences/stuns so that you can be sure to activate your Defensive Ball Curl in the middle of their team. Remember that without DBC your lifespan will be about 1/3 as long. Good enemies will attempt to prevent you from ever getting it off (courtesy Nillo).
Exhaust: This is a situational choice. I only get it if I am playing ranked, and see multiple physical autoattackers on the other team. I also do a mental calculation, based on how much Exhaust really stops their effectiveness. If they have a Twitch/MF/Ashe/Yi/Xin/Trist/Kog/etc, I'll think about it. If they have more than one off that list, I'll take it. Even if you can handle and return physical damage with your superb armor stat, your allies cannot. You can taunt one target, and it might have to be a mage. Exhaust can be as good or better than a taunt during a teamfight in the right situation. Note that some physical champions aren't totally reliant on their autoattack ( Pantheon, Ezreal, etc.), and seeing them won't immediately push me to Exhaust.
Fortify: Not a bad choice if you really like the taunt-to-tower move. Fortify often comes in handy, and you are certainly an option for it if nobody else is taking it.
Clarity: I have seen Clarity a few times on a Rammus, although I've never tried it myself. You do sometimes run into mana problems... but I don't believe it is generally worth a summoner slot. I don't want to exclude it because I saw one Rammus use Clarity to bait two champions into the tower thinking that he couldn't do anything to stop them only for one to be quickly taunted, PB'd, and easily dispatched.
I go 0/21/9 or 0/22/8. That is the standard Rammus build, and given the limited options of LoL masteries I feel like I can safely say these are the strongest builds. There aren't enough options for me to write out and explain a build.
Here is an example build:
I don't care for specific "necessary" runes in a guide. We all know nobody is going to be able to spend 4k to get their perfect set of runes for every champion, and I think it's silly to anyway since you never know when they will be revamped (take TF for example). Plus the runes that would be best against a heavy physical team wouldn't be as good against a heavy magic. You should think of runes as a small customization that will slightly affect your in-game item choices. For example, if I take HP Quints and HP seals, I may take the Cloth Armor of my Aegis before the Ruby Crystal. If I don't take any mana regen runes, I would more strongly consider Shurelya's Reverie. Therefore, I'll give a summary of "good" runes and when (if you create multiple sets) each should be utilized.
The marks don't wildly change gameplay for Rammus, because there aren't any great tanking primary marks.
Your choice will be about which type of damage you would like to increase. If somebody has any math on which will do more damage in which situations for Rammus please let me know, otherwise I'm basing this on pure theory.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: Magic Pen. These increase the damage done by all of your abilities (PB, DBC, Trem). It will generally be better at increasing your AoE damage in teamfights, and damage output against the taunted, fast-attacking, physical carries with DBC.
Greater Mark of Desolation: Armor Pen. These increase the amount of damage dealt by your autoattacks. They are better for the majority of single combats as you have a relatively high attack stat from your passive. It makes the most sense to use these when you are participating in early game ganks (either as a jungler or with Teleport).
Seals are interesting. They house the primaries for health, armor, and mana. You should consider them in conjunction with your glyphs to create a balanced rune set (I.E. only get mana for one or the other. If you get armor seals, you might want to look at magic resist glyphs).
Greater Seal of Vitality: These help Rammus' relatively poor base HP. As I said in the rune intro, they may affect your in-game item choices, either by letting you take the non-health component of certain items first, or allowing you to forgo an item entirely. Always think about how your runes will affect your item decisions.
Greater Seal of Armor: Since DBC changed to work off armor, I have considered these one of the best seal deals. They increase your effective HP against physical attackers, minions, and turrets. They also increase your auto-attack and DBC damage output. You should almost certainly look into these if you intend to jungle with Rammus. They are best against physically powerful enemies.
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration: The primary mana regen runes. I'm going to make a contestable statement here, but I have come to believe that Rammus does not benefit enormously from mana regen. This is a changed standpoint for me. However, I argue that because Rammus is a highly mobile tank, he will be roaming the map, using up mana and HP quickly. I go back often. With your "fountainball" and/or Teleport, returning to the fight is not difficult, and tanks benefit strongly from buying items/wards frequently. Be that as it may, a Rammus without the mana to Puncturing Taunt/ Powerball is a fish on land. You will be floundering to find a use for yourself. I leave it up to you to decide for yourself.
Greater Seal of Evasion: I don't love these as much as I used to either. They decrease damage taken by minions, and give you a chance to proc your bonus movespeed from the Nimbleness mastery. They also give you a chance to dodge highly damaging physical autoattacks. However, they do not offer the protection from turrets that the armor will, nor do they give you any offensive bonus. They can be useful, undoubtedly, but if I were to personally pit them against resilience, I'd go with resilience every time.
Glyphs have fewer options than seals, but have more impact than marks. Try to get them to work with your seals, preventing overlap and complementing them to create a balanced set.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Magic Resistance. These decrease the damage taken by enemy abilities. They are a good complement to resilience seals if the enemy has a balanced team, but they are also good alone if you are facing heavy enemy magic.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Mana Regeneration: Secondary mana runes. The glyphs do not suffer an enormous mana regen hit when compared to the seals, and are therefore still good at keeping Rammus' mana up. See the Clarity seals for my argument on mana regen. Despite my slight aversion to mana regen runes, I still see these as a comfortable choice. They hold their own against the glyph competition (which isn't incredibly strong).
Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction or Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction: CDR. I've seen and run these to solid effect. Rammus is certainly served by being able to taunt more frequently, Powerball more frequently, and have DBC up more constantly. The CDR/lvl Celerity runes catch up to the Focus runes at around level 13, so it is up to you whether you want more CDR earlier or later. Personally, I think later makes more sense for Rammus, because that's when teamfights happen, but again it's your decision.
I could sit here and give you a few choices with justifications about them, but I can't say I have ever used non-flat HP quints in any of my Rammus games. I just could never see giving up that huge early and late bonus to HP that Ramm desperately needs. I apologize if you wanted more flexibility, but...
Greater Quintessence of Health: These give such an early game HP lead. They carry their weight throughout the game as DBC jacks up your effective HP. Give me a better alternative and the reason why it is definitively superior to the HP quints, and I may add a second choice. Until then... use fort quints.
The lifeblood of our little friend. Powerball has a thousand uses. It does everything one can ask of an ability and more. Powerball (PB) is a small-aoe nuke/movement boost/short stun/slow that can hit invisible units. Plus its cooldown isn't long at all. I am about to try to enumerate all of the tricks I have developed and learned for Powerball use. I have broken it up as best I could. Some of this you may already have thought of, but you never know when you might learn something.
I. Map Movement
Powerball allows Rammus to fly across the map every 12 seconds. Do not walk around when you should be rolling. The movement speed bonus should be used often. Rely on your mana regen and time in lane to fill you back up.
1) Fountainball: Hit Q and wait 2 seconds in the fountain. This will let PB's speed charge up and allow you to regen all of your mana. Right before the final mana-filling tick, leave the fountain and head on out to cause mayhem. This gives you a nice free boost out to your lane, and gets you to the first inhibitor a whopping 6 seconds faster. It may not seem like much, but in LoL, time is definitely money.
2) Basic map movement: When there is a fight that you are eager to reach, it can be worth using PB to get there in time to make a difference. For instance, it takes about 2 PBs (one of them a fountain freebie) + the 12 second CD to get to the second tower of top or bottom lane. You should arrive with about 6 sec left before you can PB again. You will have lost about 100 mana and still have enough to use all of your abilities and still have a chunk of mana left over. This means that it's worth it to get there as fast as possible.
Oftentimes, people think that they will be too late and so it is not worth wasting the mana to miss the fight. WRONG! It is better to be down 100 mana than to miss being able to get in there in time to taunt an enemy and save your friend, and possibly get a kill. This is almost always true. If you have a chance to get to a battle by using PB and you aren't doing something more important to take it. That said, if you do not have enough mana to make a difference once you get there, forget it.
You are the tank. Make sure to get right into the thick of things and draw fire. Give your allies a chance to unload their spells and attacks. Powerball is essential to this. Few champions can take a surprise 300 dmg stun/slow without flinching. One of the strongest assets of PB is its high-speed impact scariness. Even Alistar wants not to get rammed by a man-sized, spikey, rotating armordillo. Use that! The two ways you will be initiating is with surprising speed or scary mind-games. These tactics are more important in initiating ganks, because in team fights your focus is mainly to hit as many as possible and get into the thick of things.
1) Lightning Initiation: There are two tricks to what I call Lightning Initiation. These can be used both to start a gank or a initiate a big team fight.
i) The Face Flash: One tactic people never seem to expect is the Face Flash. This can be both a mind game and a speed tactic. Make sure you get a feel for PB's length first. Then follow these steps. Turn on PB. For maximum results, dance back and forth behind creep wave a bit, so that he thinks you hit Q by accident. Then as your speed is getting high, casually get closer to the the front of your creep line until you make your move. As you roll toward him at high speed wait until you are about to hit his line of creeps, and Flash right onto his face. If you can strike at a time where he's farther forward than he ought to be (trying to last hit) you can Flash onto his back side, knocking him a little ways forward. Now is when whoever you have waiting in the wings to gank can come on forward. Just before the PB slow wears off use your taunt as you both hit your prey.
(If you are Face Flashing to initiate a large-scale team fight, go straight into their squishiest champion without stopping for mind games. Against whole teams it's pretty useless to work so hard to get behind the enemy.)
***Make sure to Flash before you hit a bunch of creeps or you ruin the whole tactic. I've seen a bunch of Rammi charge forward to Face Flash and fail miserably by losing their PB on a creep just before they hit the button. It's funny... but not when it's you.***
ii) No Flash Lightning: This tactic is less effective but is doable without flash. You need to start in the brush. Many people expect Rammus' PB to accelerate at them starting slow, giving them time to run around creeps to cause you to mi****. In order to prevent this tactic, simply charge up your PB for a little while (about 4 sec) in brush. You don't need to move for the speed to increase. After you hit about 500 MS or so, come around behind the unwary enemy and use the same PB-from-behind tactic if possible. Once again, your disconcerted prey will feel the pain as you and and your teammates rip him to shreds.
(This works for large fights as well, it is always more effective to come in with surprising speed.)
2) Mind Game Initiation: The most effective way to use Rammus in a gank is to come up from behind. However, you are most formidable while in PB roll. Don't waste any of the time you have in your PB. Instead of coming from behind and slamming into the enemy, PB in and play some good ol' basketball defense. Don't foul her, but mirror her movements and stop her path to the hoop. She will do his best to avoid you, but if you continue to block her path out he will usually do something stupid to avoid you (like running back toward your friends). By being a large, spinning escape route blocker you effectively increase the time the enemy is forced to stay where you want her. As soon as PB has served this purpose or is about to run out, then make sure to ram her from behind and knock/slow her into your team.
I touched on this during Summoner Spells, but PB's escape usage needs a stretch of free space. The basic goal of this section is to teach you how to make yourself an open runway, and when to save PB until you've made that runway for yourself. Remember that once your PB is down you are pretty much trapped for 12 seconds (AKA dead).
1) Group Flash Escape: When you have Flash up, this escape move isn't too difficult. Use DBC to hold off fire until you get to a wall to Flash over. Cancel DBC just after you Flash. As soon as you get over the wall, start your PB and zoom off in any direction other than the one with your pursuers. Naturally try to avoid their creep waves/towers. If you can get away anywhere unseen, PB can take you far enough that they are unlikely to find you before your blue pill gets you safely home. In this situation do NOT use PB before you Flash. It's likely that one of your enemies will take the impact and you will be stuck for 12 seconds.
2) Escape without Flash: This is much more difficult. For this you can't be trapped in the middle of a large group unless you have some teammates helping you. You have to try to run a little ways out while DBC is up, and as soon as the coast is clear, PB out of there.
The most dangerous part is during the opening stages of PB, while it is slow enough to be interrupted by an enemy trying to run into you and block it. To prevent this, use your juke power. As you try to make it out, run into some brush before you PB. Don't immediately use it. Stay at the very edge of the brush. As soon as the enemy enters the brush, or even right before, run out of the brush and use PB. Most enemies will not be able to react in time to catch you, meaning you can escape freely.
I've seen many young Rammi think that PB makes them powerful tower-diving chasers. They are only partly right. You can't chase too far into dangerous territory with PB alone. If you get into a hostile situation against a tower and/or enemies without PB up to escape, you can be in serious trouble. Only chase when you can cut off an enemy far from their tower, they are very low HP and there is no chance of other enemies in the vicinity, or you have allies with you. Don't chase too far from your allies either. Usually you end up ramming an enemy alone and with low mana, and you end up either dead or severely injured. So what should you do?
1) Be the blockade: Because your PB has the potential to get to the enemy with your allies trailing far behind, don't just run straight after the enemy. Let your slow allies do that. Go the long route around and try to cut off the enemy with PB. Just spin in place at the exit that the enemy wants to use. This will give your allies a little bit of time to catch up. After keeping your prey pinned in place, finally smash him in the final seconds and let your team do the rest of the work.
2) Tremor Chase: Tremors works while rolling. Use this to your advantage. As the enemy is trying to flee catch up with Powerball and try to roll alongside them while dealing damage with Tremors. Ultimately hit them with your PB for the finishing blow.
3) Minion Hopping: When chasing down enemies, make sure to avoid any minions. They are the quickest end to your Powerball and chance of killing the enemy. Use Flash to hop over them and continue chasing. They will lose aggro on you so you will be able to catch your prey.
V. Saving Allies
Once again you are most powerful while your PB is still spinning, not after it has hit.
1) Be the Scatterer: You see your ally running with a bunch of enemies on his tail. Wait until there is a stretch of open land (don't do this in brush). Use PB and act as though you are about to charge into the group of them like a kamikaze maniac. As they prepare to switch targets, quickly change direction to the side. The fastest part of PB should be coming up. Though they are trying to change targets, there is no way they can catch you. Try to get them to attempt to follow you, while making sure you don't let them get close enough to get to you after PB wears off.
2) Use Your Knockback: If an enemy is closing distance on your ally, get between them with Powerball. This will knock your enemy back away from your ally and apply a slow, discouraging further pursuit.
VI. Invisibility Detector
This one is tough, and doesn't work all that well unless you have some knowledge that an invisible champion is trying to gank you.
1) Test the Waters with a Fake-out: If you think that an Eve or Twitch is likely trying to gank your lane, simply hit PB. If you don't immediately go and attack something, half of the time they will think that you know something about where they are... as though you had a ward near you. This will cause them to stupidly move into the brush... as though it made them more invisible than they already are. This tactic limits their possible location to a single line... perfect for a PB test. As you hit the insanely fast sweet spot of your PB, make a quick run through that brush. If you collide with something you have just successfully scared off their invisible champion. Congrats!
2) Protecting Versus Assassins: This bit is from iPlastic's Rammus guide:
VII. Interrupting with Powerball
This is another piece from iPlastic's Rammus Guide:
Note: This works by moving the enemy champion. Therefore it will only work to cancel channels that require the champion to stand still (courtesy Frappe).
This skill is often underestimated. At level 1 it increases your effective HP by 50%. By level 5 that number is up to 150%. Those are huge increases in survivability and are almost unfair on a tank. However, DBC comes with the few balancing drawbacks listed in the opening description. It slows you a bit and shuts down your ability to use Powerball for 6 seconds. Because of PB's amazing utility, as shown above, you must strongly consider the 6 sec shutdown before using DBC if your PB isn't on CD. If it is on CD, the low mana cost makes this ability useful almost whenever you may want it. This ability also increases damage output slightly, returning a small amount of damage per hit and increasing attack damage by 37.5 at level 5 through Rammus' passive. Like PB I'll go through some uses:
I. Fights: In lane you want to use this immediately after an initiation with PB. Once PB is down you are essentially unable to chase, so the MS slow isn't hugely significant. Using this immediately may allow the return damage to get the most hits in, and DBC will protect you from enemy and minion attacks during the fight. The same goes for team fights. Since you will be in the thick of things for at least the 6 seconds of DBC, you want to maximize its offensive and defensive potential.
II. Escape: You know how to escape with PB by clearing yourself a lane. However, having the time to escape that lane before you die can sometimes be a challenge. If you believe that there will be no clear path for at least 5 seconds, or you are planning a little juke before your PB out, use DBC. Although it slows you, it also allows you to save up HP and discourage any further pursuit. Many enemies will judge their potential for killing you based on how much damage they are doing to you per second. A timely DBC gives the illusion that you can always shrug off attacks with impunity and will make the enemy less likely to continue to pound on you even after your DBC ends and you are vulnerable.
III. Creeping:This skill can also be used to help kill both neutrals and non-neutrals to get gold. In a lane run out in front of your minions and get the enemy minion aggro. Then turn on DBC. The return damage will lower their HP, and the attack bonus through your passive will make it easy to last hit. If you are trying to kill creeps in the jungle, again turn on DBC for both increases in damage.
Taunt is another multi-purpose spell. It is the main reason Rammus can ALWAYS draw fire, unlike most tanks in the game who rely on an enemy's choice to attack them. Taunt's basic use is to force the enemy's strongest DPS to harmlessly attack you instead of your allies while holding her in place. Being able to pick up the right target in the middle of a fight is important, as mis-taunting can result in total team death. Taunt also uses a considerable amount of mana. In most cases if you aren't going to have allies beating on an enemy with you or catching up during the taunt duration, taunt is just a waste of precious mana. However, there are plenty of times when it will save your team's game, and I'll show you a couple of crucial times to use it:
I. Tower Taunting: You will see every Shen and Rammus in the League's fictional universe attempting to pull this move. It can be used offensively early, and defensively late game. The basic idea is just to taunt an enemy to hit you under your tower and draw tower aggro. In and of itself this is very easy, as long as you make sure to let the enemy actually hit you before you run back to pull her closer to tower. However, there are two difficult pieces: actually getting the kill early game and knowing when not to do it late game. Let's break this down into those two parts of the game, because tower taunting is completely different for each (note: I'm generalizing a bit. There are of course times when you can pull the offensive tower taunt late game and defensive taunt early game).
i) (Mostly Early Game)Offensive Tower Taunt: The goal of an early game tower taunt is to hurt that overconfident enemy champion and hopefully get a kill. Now most Rammi I see doing this just hit the taunt button, and instantly scuttle back like a frightened little rabbit hunted by a Warwick. This is actually quite effective if your enemy has overextended and you are able to taunt them while there are no minions taking turret fire. However, this situation is rare. Even when there are minions at the turret, many of these Rammi forget to let the enemy get a hit on them to draw tower aggro. Here are the steps you should follow in the majority of offensive tower taunt situations:
a. Wait until they overextend as far into tower range as you think they will go.
b. Taunt and instantly run to the undoubtedly get a hit on you and draw tower aggro).
c. When you are behind them, be watching the taunt timer on them. As soon as taunt wears off Powerball into their back, using the little knockback to send them a bit closer to tower and slowing them.
This can be made difficult by surrounding enemy minions due to Rammus' girth and champion pathing (courtesy Frappe). Also make sure you hit in an AoE near enough to the enemy that he is hit. It's not an easy move, but if you pull this off correctly with a level 2 taunt, the tower should have time to get about 3 hits on the enemy. You will likely get off 1-2 autoattacks and your Powerball damage. Early game, this could very easily be enough to kill them alone. If you have an ally to help beat on them they should surely die. If your ally has a stun, ask them to use it as your taunt ends, giving the tower an extra hit and giving you more time to position yourself for your Powerball. Mastering this technique can be tricky, but very fruitful and fun.
ii) (Mostly Late Game) Defensive Tower Taunt: Your towers are unlikely to deal lethal damage to anybody but a low hp champion late game, and most of the time you will only be facing large groups at towers anyway. However, the damage from a tower can still cause enemy dps serious harm. Don't use the above tactic against a group, as it is an aggressive tactic that could end your life against a big group. Also, tower taunting of any kind is very dumb if the tower you are taunting to will fall during your taunt. Therefore you ought to taunt only if all of the following are true: a squishy dps is hurting your tower, the enemy team isn't strong enough to kill you at your tower, and the tower will not fall during the taunt (you could go fortify to ensure this last case, and it will also double the dmg output of the tower for a few seconds). If you are safe in doing so then, just taunt the enemy dps and throw up DBC to mitigate damage. This will cause him to start taking tower damage and stop ignoring you. He will have no choice but to back out of tower range to avoid its damage, and you will have gained about 7 seconds of time on a melee dps champ hitting your tower, and 5 on a ranged.
II. Taunt Dragging: This is what makes taunt my favorite disable in the game. Not only will are they unable to choose a target or cast spells for the duration, but they have to follow you around like dog on a leash. This can be exploited in a variety of ways. You can pull one overextended enemy back into a group of allies, or pull one away from your running ally, or even into an open spot for your ally to land a skillshot:
****Remember: Taunt dragging only works against melee enemies! If they are ranged you have to run back past their max range for them to begin to follow you. If you want to drag, choose an enemy that will be forced to follow immediately.
III. Life Saving: This is the use of Puncturing Taunt that generally supersedes all others. If your poor allied DPSer is getting pummeled by their Master Yi, you taunt that mofo. That's pretty straightforward right? Well, sort of. If you are in a big team battle all you do is taunt their main DPS. Yet what do you do after the team fight when you are all running, you are safe because of Powerball, but there are three converging on your awesome Soraka? Oh noes. Well first pray and make a wish, and then do some quick calculating. Soraka has a nice lead, but they have a Nidalee who keeps leaping forward and catching up. Clearly you taunt her, yes?. What if their Dr. Mundo pops ult and goes to chase Soraka down for a slow though... He can't dps enough for the kill, so why taunt him? Well in this situation his slow is even more dangerous than a fast dpser without one. A triple converge will mean certain Soraka pudding. I'll make a little priority list of taunt targets from top to bottom:
1) Enemies with a slow/stun that are fast enough to catch or disable your ally (Mundo, Singed, Rammus, etc.)
2) Fast enemy DPS (Nidalee, Master Yi, Phantom Dancer Tryndamere, Poppy, etc.)
3) Enemies with a global dmg ult to buy time for escape into fog of war ( Ashe, Gangplank, Ezreal)
This list is not exhaustive, but it works in most situations. If none of the above are chasing, and your ally seems to be in no imminent danger, follow your ally back to safety to prevent any unsuspected ganks from the side.
/league-of-legends/champion/lux-62 IV. Puncturing: Many Rammi forget the puncturing piece of Puncturing Taunt. 30 armor reduction? That's nothing to scoff at. Remembering taunt's secondary effect is always nice. Let's say you 5-man gank an Alistar. You have an Ashe permanently slowing him. You have 3 stunners just constantly keeping him in place. Why use taunt? Alistar is a very tough nut to crack, especially if he pops his ulti. Even if it's not needed to hold the enemy in place, it will decrease his armor considerably and allow your physical allies to shred through his HP as much as possible (this can also be done for Dragon if you don't mind using the mana).
V. Interruption: This is your main way to stop channels, break up combos, and generally stop enemies from doing what they want. For example, if you see a Nunu & Willump ult, instead of trying to walk out of the frozen wasteland, walk towards the ugly brute and taunt him. Apparently he is susceptible to the taunts of a small turtle, and will stop turning the ground into a glacier. I can't explain it, but I know it can save your team.
VI. Preventing Escape: Oftentimes you will find enemies trying to escape you and your teammates once they realize you take no damage. Many Rammi use taunt immediately in these situations, thinking to burst down the enemy hero in those first few seconds. This is often a mistake. Taunt has a bit of range, not much but enough. If an enemy hero is outnumbered but either doesn't know it yet or turns to mount a bit of an attack, hold on to your taunt. It should only be used if the enemy is trying to run away, or they are focusing a member of your team who can't handle it. If they are doing no damage... wait and use it later. My point in this section is that you should wait to make sure they are actually turning before you taunt. Many Rammi taunt too early. That all being said, don't over-listen to me and miss your taunt or you will have angry allies on your team. A perfectly timed taunt, one executed exactly as the opponent turns to escape, is difficult and a sign of a pro Rammus.
This is a pretty simple spell. Significant AoE damage that hits towers as hard as champions. I'll give you a couple of tips here and explain more about how to use his ultimate in conjunction with his other spells in the next few sections:
1) It has a very short cooldown and doesn't cost that much mana. It will most likely be back up when you need it next, and it's almost always better to ensure that kill than to save a spell.
2) Use it whenever you are free to attack a tower alone, and right after you initiate a teamfight.
3)This is also the best way to take down a Golem.
4) If you are ganking or attacking an enemy champion don't hesitate to use Tremors. If you are low on mana however, prioritize a taunt over a tremor.
5) When chasing down a fleeing enemy it is best to activate tremors and follow him, either with plain walking or with Powerball. Tremors will do more damage than auto attacks and allow you to keep pace with the enemy, and continues while in your powerball (courtesy Tokens).
1) Get your minions to tower and clear the enemy minions (without using up Tremors)
2) Get onto the back side of the tower as your minions are attacking it.
3) As the enemy's next creep wave and your next creep wave meet at the turret, stay behind the tower (but still near the back side of it), turn on DBC, and turn on tremors. Your positioning will keep their creep aggro on you and away from your minions.
4) Get as close as you can to the center of their minions while still letting tremors hit the enemy tower.
5) As your tremors and DBC decimate the enemy wave, keep hitting the tower.
The idea of this strategy is to keep your minions from engaging the enemies so that their attacks focus on the turret instead of being dispersed on the enemy wave. By the time the next enemy wave gets there the tower should be destroyed or nearly destroyed. As soon as it falls PB the heck outta there before their angry team comes and tries to avenge their fallen turret.
Also, remember that Tremors often can finish off a turret even in the midst of a fight. As iPlastic's Rammus guide, "Plastic Is The New Metal" puts it:
The turret will burst and the other team will wonder how the hell their turret blew up in a fight where they were taking damage. When the turret is around 100hp, and your Tremors is rumbling away, now is the time to taunt the nearest enemy to you. The turret bursts, and you caught a nice mean for your team to put a nail in that coffin."
Riot has patched to target the first champion that triggers a call for help and not switch until he leaves turret range. It means that Rammus lost one of his big advantages as a tank. Before he was one of the few that could keep constant aggro... now anyone can do it. Just remember to get turret aggro before any of your allies and pop DBC and you'll be fine. That also makes this section almost a universal guide... use a similar strategy with any tank you play.
So here's how to effectively destroy an enemy or group of enemies turtling underneath their turret:
1) Assess the situation. Do some mental calculations on the number of hits you can take compared to the amount of time it will take for you and your allies to kill all the enemies under the turret and get out.
2) Mark your first target (ping the squishiest) and alert your allies that you are planning to tower dive, and ask them to ignore the fact that there is a turret there. That's your worry.
3) YOU MUST GET AGGRO FIRST. Use No Flash initiation on the enemy you pinged. It often works well to PB in from behind just before your team charges from the front. Quickly taunt the target and turn on DBC.
4) If the turret is near death worry more about keeping tremors on that. Tremors isn't needed to keep aggro so use it as the simple damaging spell that can kill turrets that it is.
5) Make sure you get out when you get low. If you are under 35% without DBC on you should normally be hightailing it out of there with your allies (of course this depends on game stage).
Hopefully by the time you are forced to get out of turret range your team will have decimated the enemy by surprise and you will be able to run out with no casualties. This is a trick you will be able to use with relative ease once you get the hang of it.
1) Ping a group of enemies, and tell your allies that you intend to head in to mow them down.
2) Pull a bold, unexpected Powerball initiation into as many of their team as possible (make sure your team is following you).
3) Turn on Tremors and position yourself in the center of their clump.
4) Turn on DBC so that you'll live long enough for your team to file in.
5) As soon as their strongest DPS moves to attack a squishy ally of yours, taunt and ping him.
6) For as long as your Tremors is up, try to stand near the biggest group of enemies. They will often scatter away, so try to follow the group of 2-3 that runs in the same direction. If you are forced to choose a single enemy then follow after their dps (he will run away as taunt wears off).
7) If you fall below 15% health, attempt to waltz out of the fight during the mayhem ( Flash out if it's up). If you can make it out you can then be helpful after the initial clash. Stay a little ways away until you are needed to save a fleeing ally or chase down a fleeing enemy.
Let me take a moment to explain what you are looking for on Rammus. His DBC will knock his armor and MR high. This effectively increases the amount of hp he has by a large percentage. Yet Rammus' base hp isn't very high for a tank. You need to knock that hp above 2.5k at the very least and preferably into the 3k-4k range for your armor and MR to really do its job. That is why you will get your HP items first, so that when you start increasing the percentage reduced... it actually DOES something.
This is my general path with comments (because I can't resist editorializing):
Heart of Gold: I almost always start with one of these bad boys (though if enemy team is VERY magic heavy, drop it for Catalyst the Protector). Go out into the lane with a Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions (or two and a Sight Ward). I almost always find that at about the same time I need to go back for HP or mana I've reached at least the 675 gold necessary for the upgrade. Grab it and TP back to lane, knowing that you are getting a bit more gold per second than everybody else, and have a cheap but powerful addition to your hp/armor/dmg through passive. This is especially useful with Randuin's Omen because once your HoG has paid for itself you can upgrade it to another item that is, in its own right, amazing for Rammus.
Explanation (it's what I do): Why is HoG worth a core slot on Rammus? What happened to that whole dynamic build **** you were spewing? Calm down, HoG is almost always worth it for three reasons:
1) Rammus always needs HP/Armor.
To put this in the shortest terms... HoG lets Rammus tank towers/minions. Alone it will not let him sit at a turret taking hits for 10 seconds. Alone it will create a noticeable difference in Rammus' ability to tank non-human players. I find that the main thing lacking when one skips this item (i.e. against heavy magic) is the ability to sit there and take damage from tanks and creeps, which is a role that a tank must always be ready to fulfill.
2) It's built from the basic starting items.
HoG is an item that can be built starting with either your Ruby Crystal or Cloth Armor. It lets you decide whether you would prefer to build straight and save Gs or take extra regen to lane. That dynamic start is awesome. Unlike starting off with a Doran's Shield you are able to begin with a satisfactory set of items that immediately begin to help your build.
3) It's cheap.
You don't need to sit around waiting for a long buildup of items to get a nice mix of stats. Instead of 700g for armor and 1150g to build your basic armor/hp (which is what you would need to begin a Sunfire Cape), you are able to spend only startup gold plus < 700g total to receive that essential basic tanking mix (half price, half stats), perfect to reach middle game ready to go.
Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi: I see many Rammi getting Boots of Swiftness. That is a mistake. PB is your source of acceleration. Mercury's may be necessary for the extra MR and/or disable reduction and can be essential against some enemy heroes. Generally you'll want to grab it against any team with 3 or more CCs. Ninja Tabi will actually end up increasing your speed by more than Boots of Swiftness, and more often at the crucial moments. With Nimbleness, you're likely to gain the movement speed boost, often from minion attacks.
Aegis of the Legion: Since I took Leviathan out of my core (due to patch changes) I felt bad leaving people with only two core items. I also believe this beauty deserves a mention, as I get it so often as my third item. It's a relatively cheap item gives health, armor and magic resistance and gives you and your team the upper hand in team fights. Remember, your goal is to make your team win every team fight. If you multiply the Aegis aura by 5 (for a full team fight) you get a huge offensive and defensive team boost!
From here you really gotta assess the situation. Who's killing you (if anyone)? If the answer is a mix of AP and physical attacks feel sad for a minute and then think of getting more HP and hybrid defense items. If it's huge physical damage think armor like Thornmail or Randuin's Omen. If it's that damn fed AP veigar stack magic resist. If it's that damn Ashe arrow or Warwick suppress, then get a Banshee's Veil or Quicksilver Sash. If you are just decimating the other team then think of getting a Sunfire Cape for quick pushing and an end to the game. That's the quick rundown. Here's a more in-depth item analysis for you in each category:
Mixed enemy dps:
You need all three defensive stats, HP + Armor + MR.
Aegis of the Legion: ^^ (Those are up arrows not eyes ^.^) See above!
Shurelya's Reverie: Not a bad early-mid game choice. Philosopher's Stone gives good, cheap mana/hp regen if you are inclined to get regen early, and of all the gold/5sec items it pays for its worth the fastest. The completed item provides a nice HP boost, enough mana regen to keep you pumping for a long time, respectable CDR, and a passive that will save you often. The active can be used like Ghost in order to attain the initial velocity required to break ahead of enemies and allow your PB enough charging time to accelerate enough to be uncatchable.
Soul Shroud: A great HP boost, and another helpful team aura. This is a good source of that essential basic hp. Also this build needs HP more than any other, as HP is the only defensive stat that helps against both magical or physical attacks.
Guardian Angel: This is especially good if you already have a significant HP pool. It gives great armor and magic resistance bonuses and the passive is nice if you're dying first. Remember not to rely too much on it though. I've seen it make too many people bolder than they should be and causing their death. It's best to play like you don't have it. Rammus dies often enough playing normally that there's no rush to use it... you don't need to pretend you've got Zilean's ult on you.
Or get one armor and one MR piece. This will leave you vulnerable to one type of attack or the other for a period so be cognizant of who you are fighting and what they are hitting you with. If you do this prioritize the armor first because it also gives you atk power.
Stack that Armor baby. This is gold for you. You want to be stacking armor anyway because it makes you hit hard and lets you tank towers and minions with impunity. Armor is also easier to get than magic resist.
Randuin's Omen: Upgrade that HoG. With the amount of armor you will reach you will be able to pump out a long slow when you initiate, keeping your enemies inside your allies range and the range of your Tremors.
Thornmail: If you are getting hosed by some annoying straight physical dpser like Twitch or Master Yi, nothing stops them faster than a Thornmail. This can rip chunks off their HP extremely quickly, without you doing anything but hitting DBC. Note that Thornmail does 30% of the incoming damage BEFORE reduction. I'm pretty sure this means that if an autoattack will do 100 damage and you have 50% reduction, your enemy will take 30 damage and you will take 50.
Sunfire Cape: I've seen this item floating around almost every Rammus guide in history. There is no denying its great armor/hp and pushing power.
Frozen Heart: Nice choice, lots of armor and considerable mana. The Glacial Shroud is a great build-up piece too, as it really helps out your mana and the CDR is great. Just don't be so concerned about building up your mana that you forget that your HP is more important.
Magic is less useful than armor, so it's a little depressing to know that it's what you need to stack, but we Rammi persevere. There are plenty of good MR options for us.
Banshee's Veil: With great HP and mana buffs, awesome Magic Resistance, and a great unique ability, BV is a wonderful item. This addresses 2/3 of your major stats (kind of like the Sunfire Cape of magic resist), and will grant a large enough mana pool for the entire game.
**Tip** If you are able to predict that the majority of the enemy team's damage will come from magical sources, rush a quick BV. Go out to lane with a Sapphire Crystal and 2x Health Potion. Get that catalyst quickly and then try to stay in lane, using the catalyst proc for lane power, and finish off your BV and some boots. This will give you a powerful mid game edge against pesky casters.
Quicksilver Sash: I don't see this as much as I should. It's relatively cheap, gives amazing Magic Resist, and a free cleanse. I usually get this when I'm being extremely bothered by one of the enemy's fed champs' stuns.
Spirit Visage: SV is cheap and useful. It has a solid amount of MR, but also increases your regen considerably, which helps a lot if paired with mana regen glyphs or a Force of Nature.
Force of Nature: FoN is an amazing item for many tanks to beat back casters, but it doesn't have quite as much viability on Rammus. It still gives great regen and MR, but it gives no flat HP of its own. The passive isn't as strong if Rammus can't build up enough hp. I sometimes get FoN, but usually it's one of my last items after I've picked up a couple of HP items. It is also an excellent choice in poke/harass games, where hp over time is more important.
Your team is doing extremely well. It's time to end the game quickly before the tides turn. Get armor/pushing items to blow through lanes and towers until you can knock down that pesky nexus.
Atma's Impaler: Not an item I typically get but I have before in this type of situation. Though I am saying that Atk damage helps bring down towers the truth is the rest of your team is supposed to be that damage. Still this is never an ideal world and if you have a lot of hp and want to try it, Atma's can get your attack very high to help take down inhibitors and turrets. The armor bonus is nice and the atk is fun, but you really could forego this guy for better tanking gear.
Abyssal Mask: Not the best item on Rammus either, but if your team is mage-heavy and you need more magic resist, Abyssal Scepter can be a good choice. It also increases the damage on your Powerball and Tremors by a decent amount.
That's basically it for my item section. I'm sure I missed some things, stressed some things too lightly and others too much, but I can always update this section. It's less of a build and more of a nice little organized list.
So that damn Anivia finally hits 100% and everyone is summoned into the game. You hit the medical symbol over your Powerball and navigate to the Cloth Armor and buy it along with your Health Potion, and maybe a Sight Ward. Then you ignore the Twisted Fate arguing with the Tristana over mid (I won't even waste the time to mention that you aren't going mid- Oh ****! Whatever), and you head to your lane. You actually prefer to have a nice, powerful early game ally to counterbalance your relatively larva-like one, but it isn't worth you making enemies on your team... just pray they are reasonable people who make normal, balanced lanes. Once that's all figured out you test out your Fountainball, and try to perfect the timing for your mana (because it's essential to maximize your half-seconds at level 1). What happens when you get out to lane?
Do NOT go to the bushes to gank. Do NOT go to the bushes to check for an enemy gank. Just chill out at your tower and dance while establishing a nice relationship with your lane-mate. As the minions file by your tower stay on the side of them that is opposite the brush. If you have a partner that is crying about you not ganking just ignore him until he comes back to your tower and apologize for being afk after the minions spawn. The point is... you are actually pretty pathetic at this point. You can nuke for 100 and then stand there taking hits for a while. That's nothing. Just avoid taking too much harassment and take what opportunities you can to last hit.
At level 3 you can start to do a few more things, now that you have a legitimate disable. You are still not the damage dealer of the group, but you can initiate with a slow, and then disable for a duration. That can be more than enough for a harassed enemy. However, save the fact that you have a level 2 taunt for a time when it will ensure a kill. This is also the point at which you can start to use your offensive tower taunt, if the minions are by your tower. If you are getting heavily harassed, try to remain in lane until 675 gold if at all possible. When you hit that magic number you may feel free to hit them with a PB + Taunt if you have the hp to survive it and then head back to the fountain to refill and pick up your Heart of Gold. If you stay out there until 850g then you will be able to pick up your Boots of Speed here as well.
With Tremors, you have some DPS of your own. You can chew through about 1/3 of most enemy's hp by yourself, but it will cost you most of your mana pool. Tremors also allows you to start taking down tower with ease if left alone. This gives you two options: stay in lane and farm/try to get a turret or head out ganking. I suggest trying to hang around the lane for a while, unless someone asks you to come and help another lane. If you remain in lane a few things can happen. Either:
1. Nothing happens, you trade last hits with your enemies that also stay in lane.
2. An ally from another lane comes down to gank or your enemies overextend and you get a kill, double kill, or a force back to fountain.
3. Your enemies go out to help/gank in other lanes.
4. You overextend and get ganked. If this happens just get right back out there and don't let them get down your tower. Use your tower taunt if you are given the opportunity.
If 2 or 3 happen and you are left alone in lane for a little while, and should push fast to get to the tower to perform your tower kill (as explained in the "Tower Killing" section). At some point here you should be able to finish up your Boots of Speed, and start working on your first enemy-counter item.
9 - End Game
Here's where Rammus earns his title of the Master of Assists.Now you want to build up your defenses as you help your team push to victory. You are not the killer, you are there to assist your teammates. You get great gold and xp for assists as well, so do not be selfish. These are a few tips to ensure you get some assists, and your team gets some kills:
1) You want to start rolling from behind to initiate fights against two or three enemies. Enter from the side to break 3v3, 4v4 stalemates. Refer to the "Team Fight" section of this guide.
2) If an enemy is tower-hugging with less than half hp, you roll in from behind and take tower aggro to let your allies kill him.
3) Start leeching on all enemy deaths. If you are mid and your teammates are pulling a gank top, roll up there and try to get a hit on the dying enemy for the assist. You never know when your presence may be essential for getting the kill anyway.
4) Don't go off on your own with low mana and/or no flash or other escaping summoner spell ready. You don't want to die now. If you have mana and an escaping spell, feel free to go off and try to quickly knock down a tower while other people are playing around in other lanes, dragon, or jungle.
Finishing the game
As you steadily become harder to kill and continue to top off your build, you can start to go off on your own even more. If there's a stalemate mid try to go off and knock down a tower, then rush back out. If your enemies are at one of your towers trying to face down a few outnumbered guards on your team, go in from behind with all of your abilities blazing and give those beleaguered allies a chance to spit some burst at the enemy and maybe knock them out quickly as they try to deal with you. This is your chance to be bold. You are still never a solo ganker, you are the ball that messes up their team and lets your allies mess them up. They will learn to fear you, even with your 4-1 score. That 20+ assist column will be more than enough to instill fear, especially as it begins to burgeon in groups of 5.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this guide (or parts of it). If you liked it at all would you please hit thumbs up or down and let me know why. Hopefully I can continue to update this to become a clear, detailed guide filled with useful information and it can serve as a model for any future guides that I or others write. Thanks in advance, and good luck steamrolling (literally).
Because of popular demand I've decided to take the initiative and compose a brief jungling guide to save Bguggs some time.
Rammus takes a highly standard route - blue to wolves to wraiths, small golems, red buff (or recall before doing red).
He is HIGHLY reliant on blue buff for jungling and is HIGHLY vulnerable to counter-jungling, making him a little risky to choose without proper support. If you see a Lee Sin or a Trundle on the enemy team, it may not be the best idea to pick him.
The opening is standard - Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions. Rammus's best feature is his ganking ability, since Powerball into Puncturing Taunt is a huge amount of CC. Cloth Armor serves to maximize your damage.
Armor penetration seals speed up your jungle while armor quints do the same and also make it safer. Everything else is more or less standard.
Masteries are 1/14/15 for reduced damage but also improved Flash, which is extremely important on most champions. However, 0/21/9 is definitely viable.
The Level 2 Gank
One thing you can try doing is a "level 2 gank". Rammus cannot counter-jungle but he can secure a fast kill at level 1 given a lane partner with some CC or a lot of damage. Take blue buff very quickly - even consider starting with Powerball so you'll have both CC skills at level 2. Do blue buff with a strong leash and you should be able to gank top or middle lane before much action happens. A level 2 Rammus hitting a level 1 lane is scary and very powerful.
Jungle Rammus is easy and transitions into the same mid/late-game as regular Rammus. The build is more or less the same, except you run an early Philo Stone so you can start giving blue buff to your AP carry early.
Balanced Tank: This is a standard Rammus build assuming you are facing a mixture of physical and magic dps.
Anti-Physical: This is a standard Rammus build assuming you are facing almost only physical damage.
Anti-Magic: This is a standard Rammus build assuming you are facing almost only magical damage.
AP Rammus: A silly build. I don't condone building Rammus this way but some people enjoy it. It utilizes the 1:1 AP ratio on Powerball and Rammus' powerful AoE ultimate.
But seriously, there are many ways to ruin a Rammus' day. I'm not going to share them with you directly. If you read this guide you should be able to understand his strengths and how to mitigate them, but I'm not doing the work for you. Suffice it to say that there are some gaping weaknesses out there that a clever enemy can exploit. The best tricks I will share only with a select few friends... (I take check or paypal).
This is probably the best Rammus guide I've seen. It's exhaustively in-depth, with an unbelievable amount of effort put in from Bguggs's part. It took me a long time to copy everything over and format it - so I can't possibly imagine how long it took him to write it.
While formatting the guide, I made a few minor changes. Some of the text is slightly out of date, and I also accounted for slight grammatical, spelling, or structuring errors. I also accounted for Puncturing Taunt's nerf in patch 126.96.36.199. The vast majority of the guide remains unchanged, however.
Endless thanks to Bguggs for letting me upload this guide here. I hope you learned something from it, as I know I have.
5/19/2011: Slightly modified masteries to be more optimal (done independently from Bguggs, hope you approve! :D)
2/9/2011: Added a disclaimer in the beginning of the guide explaining the downsides of an "item build".
2/4/2011: Removed Sunfire Cape and Guardian Angel from the "cheat sheet" item build as some people were complaining.
1/28/2011: Removed the comment that Rammus was a poor jungler.
1/26/2011: Guide copied from Leaguecraft to MOBAFire.
12/17/2010: Fixed grammar mistakes in first 5 sections (as pointed out by Nhan-Fiction). Removed outdated ability notes. Removed spaces from section titles.
12/18/2010: Fixed more grammar, directed again by Nhan. He's kindly going through for technical edits to sharpen the guide.