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Nunu Build Guide by Knightro

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Knightro

Knightro's Jungle Nunu Patch 4.16

Knightro Last updated on May 8, 2014
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Jungle Role
Ranked #12 in
Jungle Role
Win 48%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 0

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 21


Utility: 9

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Introduction / About me


Hi I'm Knightro, a league of legends player and this is my guide to Jungling as Nunu. Nunu is a great champion who is very easy to learn and play, making him a good pick if you are learning to jungle or if you are a new league player in general. Nunu is a very strong counter-jungler, and acts somewhat like a second support to the team. When playing Nunu this way, you have a better opportunity to build tankier and forgo the standard support setup. He also brings some very god utility to the team, with an amazing slow that can mean death for any fleeing opponent who gets hit by it late game.

When jungling as Nunu, you should not sit on your jungle and farm for 20 minutes. You should also not try to gank every 5 seconds. With that in mind, what should you be doing? Counter-Jungling! Nunu is a great counter jungler with 2 smites and good sustain. He can sneak into the enemy jungle, quickly steal the enemy jungler's buffs, and high tail it out of there. You should spend more time in the enemy jungle then your own, but don't forget to gank when it presents itself, and keep your own jungle empty to prevent counter jungling.


Before Voting on this guide, please read it thoroughly before deciding to vote. Don't make a hasty downvote based on the runes, cheatsheet, or even something I might have said to you previously, possibly on one of your own guides. Downvoting hastily without reading and testing this guide and build is unfair to the guide author, who took the time to write and code out a proud creation.

SPECIAL THANKS: Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.

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Pros / Cons


+ Tanky
+ Amazing counter-jungler
+ Built-in Smite
+ Huge Burst with Ult
+ Very sustained

Nunu is naturally tanky and has high base stats, so We build to compliment that nicely, making him very hard to catch and kill. Thanks to Consume he has a built in Smite, meaning he can clear camps very quickly, making him an exceptional counter-jungler. He also has great sustain in both mana and health with his passive and Consume, meaning he can stay in the jungle for a while before needing to recall. Finally, his ultimate has the highest base damage in the game, and can easily take opponents down for 900+ health when fully channeled, even without building any ability power.

- Weak Duelist
- Low DPS
- Doesn't fit all team comps
- Low Range

Nunu might be a god at counter-jungling, but not so much at fighting the enemy jungler. With only one damaging spell (that isn't his ultimate) Nunu should avoid fighting and just escape sticky situations, unless his team is coming to assist him. He also has less DPS and more burst damage, relying on auto attacks to do his damage when his spells are down. He also does not fit all team comps. More on this later. And finally, he is very short ranged. If he cannot get into range of Ice Blast, then there is not a whole lot he can do to help his team.

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Defense Tree

The defense tree is aimed at making Nunu as difficult to kill as possible. With bonus stats from Hardiness , Resistance , and Juggernaut , Nunu gets extremely tanky and is able to soak up a lot of damage for his team, be it diving turrets or blocking enemy spells from hitting our allies.

Utility Tree

The utility tree gives Nunu as little mana regeneration so that he doesn't have to worry about casting spells when Visionary isn't up. He also gains some movement speed, which is very important for getting around the map quicker and escaping enemy champions. He also gains an increase to Red and Blue Buffs from Runic Affinity and lower cooldown on summoner spells with Summoner's Insight .

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Greater Mark of Attack Speed

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed

Rune Page

  • Greater Mark of Attack Speed: Nunu uses basic attacks 80% of the time. During this time, you want to attack as often as possible for faster clears. It also synergizes well with Blood Boil, and will proc Visionary more often for more free spells.

  • Greater Seal of Armor: The best seals in the game, and strongest runes available. They reduce damage from monsters, minions, and enemy champions, making them invaluable. I do not advise you take any other seals.

  • Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Magic resist is very useful for dealing with those pesky ap carries. They also help a little bit when dealing with magic damage junglers, such as Amumu or Dr. Mundo. Scaling magic resist will grant more magic resist at level 18 then if you had taken flat magic resist, but if you wish you can take Greater Glyph of Magic Resist for more early game magic resist.

  • Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: Movement speed helps you get around the map faster. It lets you get in between jungle camps quickly, and is especially useful when sneaking around the enemies jungle. Between these and Fleet of Foot and Boots of Speed, you will have so much movement speed, that if you so choose you can wait before upgrading to level 2 boots so you can work on the rest of your build.

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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells

Smite: You need to take this when jungling. I don't care about "nunu has a smite already" blah blah. Smite is invaluable when jungling. Without it, you lose a lot of buff control, and your clear times will be noticeably slower. Not only that, but counter-jungling gets much riskier, and we don't want that since Nunu is all about the counter-jungling.

Flash: Really the only other summoner spell you should ever take. It can save your life, escape a sticky situation or close the gap for an ice blast. This is especially needed since Nunu has no means of escape without it.

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  • Visionary: Every 5 basic attacks, your next spell is free. Spacing out spell casts will let you effectively never run out of mana while jungling. This lets you give away blue buff to an ally who needs it more. Since it relies on basic attacks, it synergizes nicely with attack speed from runes and Blood Boil.
  • Consume: What makes Nunu jungle so good. A true damage nuke that heals you keeps you sustained in the jungle forever. It also makes counter jungling so good with Nunu, having 2 smites handy is great for stealing buffs and securing objectives. You also gain bonuses based off what you ate ( hover your mouse over the ability picture to read them all). If you feel that one point is satisfactory, then you can max it second in favor of Ice Blast, but you will have weaker buff and objective control.
  • Blood Boil: Grants Nunu (and any ally he targets) a slight movement speed and attack speed buff. The scaling on this ability is not that great, only gaining 1% increased movement speed per rank and 5% attack speed. Nevertheless, one point early will help your clear speed, and proc Visionary more often. This is the least expensive of Nunu's spells so don't worry about saving Visionary for it. Note that if you use it on an ally, you still get the buff, so always cast it on a nearby ally for maximum benefits.
  • Ice Blast: Frankly this spell is pretty darn good. The early stats are a little weak, only a 25% attack speed slow and a 20% movement speed slow, but the scaling is great. At rank 5, a single Ice Blast can slow and enemy enough for you or your team to catch up to them. You should save Visionary for this spell in my opinion, as it is the most expensive spell in Nunu's kit. Since this skill is on a 6 second cooldown and the de-buff lasts 3 seconds, you can effectively keep an opponent slowed almost constantly (especially if you have red buff). You can max this first if you want for for skirmish and ganks, but I personally max Consume first for the buff/objective control and sustain.
  • Absolute Zero: If you finish channeling this spell, you can easily drop an opponent for 900 hp if they don't have any magic resist. This can be difficult, as the enemy will usually attempt to cancel your channel before it starts. You should either wait until they have blown most of their cooldowns before casting, or channel in a bush and wait for them to walk into range.

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Item Sequence

Boots of Swiftness

Spirit of the Ancient Golem

Sunfire Cape

Spirit Visage

Randuin's Omen

Banshee's Veil

Since the nerfs to the Boots of Mobility, these boots can really shine. The slow reduction is fantastic, letting you run away from sticky situations easier. Topped with tenacity items, crowd controls are barely going to affect you.

This is a good tanky item, giving tenacity and a fair chunk of health. It also provides come cooldown reduction. It also grants conservation stacks, which can be cashed in for gold upon killing a large monster. Try not to let those stacks sit at 80 for a long time! You should be cashing them in ASAP to maximize your gold income.

This is a great mid game item. The nerfs to the AOE magic damage have hurt it a little bit, but it remains a strong pick, both offensively and defensively. As an added bonus, the magic damage helps clearing jungle camps faster, making counter jungling easier.

This item is fantastic. It grants a good chunk of HP, cooldown reduction, an enormous amount of magic resist, and finally increased healing. This increases the healing from Consume, and stacks nicely with Second Wind. If you find yourself in need of more armor, say the enemy Lee Sin got fed, then skip this item and build some armor first, and come back to it later.

A large chunk of armor and hp. It also makes catching you very tricky, as anyone who attacks you will get slowed, and also proc Oppression . The more armor and magic resist you build, the stronger the slow active will become. This will also grant more armor and magic resist from Enchanted Armor .

A great item if you need more magic resist. The spell shield also is great when they have an annoying enemy team comp like Nidalee or Teemo, and can block one of their spells that would have been fatal.

This is a good support-ish item. It grants magic resist to all your nearby allies, and the shield can soften some damage taken, making it very useful for team fights. If you pick this up, you should get it somewhere in the middle of your build, say 3rd or 4th item. If your support is building this, then skip it.

This item is great when you have plenty of allies with tons of magic damage on your team. Some examples include Katarina, Xerath, Kassadin, and even Shyvana. Note that multiple auras don't stack, so if you see an ally building one then skip this.

If you want more AP and health, then this is the item for you! If you buy this, then makes sure to pick it up early to get those stacks on it asap! Grants a nice chunk of bonus health at full stacks, and a huge pile of mana that ensures you will never run out!

A massively tanky item, you basically cannot be killed once you buy this. It makes you go from decently tanky to unkillable. It is a must buy when you have to be as tanky as possible for late game team fights.

A big chunk of AP and hp, it also makes your Ice Blast so from annoyingly slow to an almost Nasus-level slow. And only on a 6 second cooldown! A must-buy if building AP.

What do I spend my gold on after my build is completed?

Upgrade your boots!

Upgrade your trinket!

Buy the Elixirs! And buy them again when they run out!

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I like to start my jungling at my own Blue buff. What I like to do is to Smite right off the bat, and get a harder leash for a faster clear. This is easier when starting on the red side of the map, so your bot lane can leash you, but its not that huge of a difference.

Make absolutely sure you started with Consume! If you messed up and didn't, then make 100% sure to take it at level 2!

If you are worried about getting invaded, stick your trinket over the wall so you have vision (in case your mid laner isn't keeping watch)!

After taking my own blue buff, I usually run straight to the enemy red buff.

Like this

By the time you get there, Smite will be off its 36 second cooldown. You can either pull it into the brush and take it as soon as you get there, but if it is someone who clears very fast, you might not have time. In that case, wait for the enemy jungler to come along, start to take his buff, and then you can walk up and Consume it, as well as Smite it at the same time. The total damage is 410 from a level 2 smite, and 400 from consume, for a total of 810 true damage! This basically guarantees with proper timing, you can steal the enemies buff before he even gets the buff low enough to simply Smite it!

After you take the buff, book it! Don't fight them, don't haggle, just high tail it out of there before their lanes come to assist them. You don't want to be first blood. If you know the enemy jungler will be slower, and possibly stop to clear his wolves or wraiths before coming to his second buff, then you should clear the entire buff camp to get the timer down for it. This way you will know when it will re-spawn, and then you can come back and steal it again. If you don't clear the whole camp and don't get the timer, then you should drop a stealth ward in the brush nearest the camp around the 7:00 mark. It will ward the area for 3 minutes, and thus show when the camp will re-spawn.

However, this doesn't work on all enemy champs. If the enemy starts red, then you will be wasting time running there, and actually leave your own red open for stealing! Some examples of this are:

These champs usually start at their own red buffs, and thus make stealing their second buff very difficult. What you would do is simply go to your own red buff and take it. Sometimes though, the enemy jungler will come sniffing around looking for first blood, and generally that can be found at your red buff. This is why I would still save Smite, and ward the brush nearest my red buff.

Like this

Generally, the enemy jungler likes to sit in that bush and watch your buffs hp, then Smite it as soon as it gets low enough. With a ward here, you will be able to see if that is going to happen, and then you can either call your lanes to help, or time it right to Smite and Consume simultaneously for 810 true damage, thus securing your own buff. You might need to immediately run away though, so the enemy jungler doesn't kill you and take it.

After stealing their red buff, you should immediately go take your own red buff. This might seem silly as you already have red buff, but in my experience, when someone loses their buff, the first thing they do is to go steal yours to get back at you for stealing theirs. This has happened countless times, and I am usually prepared with my laners to kill their jungle when he comes around, thus setting him back even further.

After clearing enough camps to hit level 3 and put a point into all of your basic abilities, then you can either gank, or start counter jungling. Only gank if the opportunity presents itself, IE an enemy has overextended hardcore. Otherwise, steal some of the enemies' jungle.

Camp Timers


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Counter-jungling is sneaking into the enemy jungle and stealing some of the camps to rob the opposing jungler of gold and experience. When counter jungling, the easiest camp to steal is the wraiths. Kill all but one of the little ones, so that the camp won't respawn until the enemy jungler kills it. This is the easiest because it is easily accessible through the river, and you can run away quickly if the enemy jungler comes around and catches you. Same thing for the wolves, kill all but one little wolf. For the small golems, just kill both of them, don't leave any behind. I don't advise stealing the Wight, as it hurts really hard, and doesn't offer very much gold. Not worth stealing.

The best time to counter jungle is whenever you have vision of the enemy jungler. This way you won't have to worry about getting caught in their jungle. A perfect example is if the enemy jungler is ganking top lane. This lets you steal his wraiths if on the red team, or wolves if on the blue team.

However, not all enemy champions can be counter jungled. Some examples are:

These champions are very difficult to counter jungle. Frankly, if you see any of these in champion select, (either ranked or regular draft pick) then you should probably decide against playing as Nunu. (If you are playing blind pick and you face one of these, then there's really nothing you can do about it). It is very hard to outrun these champs, and very hard to compete with them throughout the game. They bring more utility, more damage, and more lane presence, and they can even counter jungle you.

However, some champions are super easy to counter jungle! Here are some examples.

Even if these guys catch you, they don't have the damage to kill you alone (unless you have 30% life or something). Still, keep tabs on them with wards, just because they are easy to counter jungle doesn't mean you shouldn't be careful! If they catch you, their laners can easily come running and finish you off.

Getting counter-jungled?

If you want a complete in-depth guide to counter-jungling, then head on over to Mikuroo's Jungle Control and Counter-Jungling Guide. It covers a lot more info then I can include in this guide, and I recommend you read it!

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If you are going to be counter-jungling, then you need to learn how to ward! Here is a map with important locations for wards on it.


The wards in the jungle are for keeping tabs on the enemy jungler, so you can see him every time he crosses from one half of the map to the other. The wards in the brushes closest to the wraith camps are good when stealing their first red buff, as it lets you know if they are coming immediately or if they are clearing other camps. This way you might even have a clue if they are going to steal your own red buff.

I recommend placing an early Vision ward in the brush in the river, near the entrance to both jungles on either side of the mid lane. This ward usually goes overlooked, and can provide good vision on the enemy mid laner or jungler, alerting you to when they either arrive to gank mid lane, or leave mid to gank another lane, or if the enemy jungler is sneaking into your jungle. Whichever side you place it on depends on which half of the map has more activity, generally the bottom lane in my experience.

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Objective Control


When to do dragon?

The best time to do dragon is when the enemy bot lane is back at their base. Doesn't matter if they were killed or simply recalled, but if they are gone and your bot lane is up, then you can do dragon. If your mid laner comes to help, then even if the enemy mid laner and jungler come sniffing around, they can't contest a 2v4 (unless you are all really low and out of mana).

Keep the area around the dragon pit clear of enemy wards. This way they can't use some long range spell to steal it, like Trueshot Barrage because they will have no vision. (I did that once, frickin' hilarious!)

Don't forget, the Dragon spawns at 2:30 and re-spawns every 6 minutes, so once a dragon goes down, add 6 minutes to the current game time, and that is when it will re-spawn. When there is about 1 minute before the dragon re-spawns, make sure you have the area warded, so you can take it as soon as it re-spawns, and make sure the enemy team doesn't.

When to do Baron?

Baron is trickier then Dragon. Teams aren't as willing to risk a game to contest dragon, but Baron is another story. Bad timing on Baron can cost the game for either team, depending on who wins the contest. A few good times for baron are:
  • When your lanes are pushing to their towers
  • If you just won a team fight and aced them
  • If you have killed one of their inhibitors already

However, you should NOT do baron if you have an inhibitor down or an open inhibitor. Even if you secure baron, you will have to waste it defending your base instead of pushing or securing other objectives. Wait until all of your inhibitors have re-spawned and your lanes are pushing before attempting baron.

Note that even though the Baron spawns at 15:00, I don't advise you take it immediately, unless your team is extremely far ahead at this point, say already pushing to the enemy teams inhibitors. Then, and only then, if your entire team is there, and everyone is full health, can you take baron this early in the game.

When to split push?

Basically, whenever you see an empty lane, and you know where the enemy laner of said lane is, you can push that lane. For example, if you see top lane is empty, and you see the enemy top laner ganking bot, then you can push top. When you push, try your hardest to take a turret or two. Pushing a lane will grant you extra experience and gold, which will be most helpful. I don't advise pushing a lane when you don't know where the enemy laner is. They could return to lane at any moment, and then freely farm up because you pushed the lane.

You also need to keep your eyes on your mini-map when split-pushing! If you see the enemy team in mid lane, ans then they all suddenly disappear, you can bet your life they are coming to your lane to kill you. At that point, run like heck! You don't want to get caught and be an easy kill.

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Ganking Lanes

Generally, the best time to gank a lane is when the enemy has overextended his lane and is pushing towards your tower. This makes it easier for you to catch him out, and he has more ground to cover when running away, giving you more time to catch and kill him.

You need to make sure if the lane you wish to gank is warded. If they have warded, generally they will back off the moment you walk over it, signalling that the lane is in fact warded. When this happens, you can back off, as standing around in a warded brush is not going to benefit anyone. If you want, you can take Sweeping Lens to clear any wards they might have, but I still prefer Warding Totem for the useful ward to counter-jungle.

You should also keep track of enemy Flashes. If the enemy has Flash up, then ganking becomes difficult, but not impossible. What you do is try to make him pop his Flash as soon as possible. This way it becomes easier to gank within the next few minutes, and easier for your laner to pick up a kill later on.

You shouldn't gank a lane when your laner is pushing hard. Nunu doesn't have enough burst damage to kill an enemy under a turret, and if you have to tank the turret while your laner secures the kill, you may have to burn Flash to escape afterwards. Unless a lane is pushed to your own turret, you might want to re-think about ganking it.

If a lane is getting stomped hard, trust me: don't bother trying to gank it. Even if you do, it won't change anything. More likely, your laner or you will die during that gank, and even then you absolutely have to get the tower after said gank, otherwise you will have to come back and gank that lane again because your laner is getting stomped. They might flame and rage, but just ignore them. You will be wasting your time and effort trying to save their lost lane.

What you can do though, is babysit a fed lane. If the enemy top laner is constantly over-extending and pushing to your tower, then you can easily gank him and get your top laner really fed. Helping a fed lane get even more fed is much more worthwhile then trying to save a lost lane.

Finally, if you are heading towards a lane where the laner really needs to go back, like if they are very low on life or mana, then tell them to recall and hold the lane for them. Don't push it (unless the enemy laner is missing), just freeze the lane and farm. This will grant you some bonus experience and gold, and gives your laner some breathing room to heal and shop. Once they get back to lane, you can return to jungling.

If your laner is absent from their lane, say, your mid laner is ganking the top lane, then you can go and hold their lane for them. However, if you see that the enemy mid laner is also going top to counter-gank, then leave the lane and get to top as quick as you can. Winning a 3v2 top lane fight is more beneficial then holding mid lane while your team fights a 2v2 top. You are more likely to win a 3v2, and you can then take the turret or whatever. If the enemy mid laner stays at mid while your mid laner ganks top, then stay and hold the lane so they don't get the turret.

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Team Mates

Team Mates

Knowing when to pick Nunu is very dependent on your team composition. Nunu is not a huge damage dealer, nor a carry, nor a strong engager. You need to make sure that you have team mates who can accomplish all that Nunu cannot. Some examples of good team mates for support are:

These supports can make up for Nunu's lack of crowd control, and can easily engage a team fight or accept a gank when needed.

Some good top lane allies for Nunu are:

One thing Nunu doesn't bring to a gank is damage. These champions have enough damage and crowd control to help secure the kill, while you buff them with Blood Boil and slow the target with Ice Blast.

Some good mid lane allies would be:

Nunu can't carry games. Fortunately, these champs can. They also have either enough damage to compliment a gank, or enough crowd control to help initiate a gank once you charge out.

However, there are a handful of champions who simply don't work well with Nunu at all. A few of these would be:

These champions just don't bring anything to the table that compliments Nunu. They either don't have enough damage, or no form of CC (crowd control) to compliment your ganks or team fights. They can't really engage well, and don't have damage to make up for your lack of damage. Yes, Singed does a lot of damage, but when it comes to ganks, he just runs around, leaving you to whittle down the target. He has no burst damage, and neither do you. Not the best combo. Same problem with Shen. There just isn't enough burst damage between the two of you to secure the kill during a gank, especially if your laner didn't take Ignite.

The random jerk in the game

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Thank you for reading my guide to jungling as Nunu in the 2014 season. I hope this guide was informative and a good read, and if you have any questions, then please feel free to leave them in the comments section, and I will answer to the best of my ability. If you really enjoyed this guide, the consider giving it a vote, and please say why you voted, I'd like to hear you guy's feedback.

If you liked my work, then consider reading my Trundle Jungle Guide, you will not regret it!

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Special Thanks

A Special Thanks to:

  • jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.
  • The_Nameless_Bard for telling me how to add pictures to my mastery chapter